The number of teenage pregnancies has increased and a decrease in the number of young people using contraceptives in Ekurhuleni.
Local health practitioners attribute these worrying developments mainly to the lack of knowledge and myths associated with contraceptives.
Maternal Child, Women and Men's Health Manager in the City Thembane Masina says young sexually active women who have no intention of falling pregnant must know that contraceptives are not a one-size-fits-all remedy.
"Although there are many different types of contraception, not all types are suitable for all situations. The most appropriate birth control method depends on an individual's overall health, age and desire to conceive in future," Masina said.
The City's clinic offer a variety of birth control methods, such the popular Nur-Isterate among teenagers and the Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC). The LARC, which lasts for a long time, comes as an intra uterine device (IUD) that lasts for five years and an implant that last for three years.
Another popular contraception is the hormonal contraception either in pill or injection form. The clinic has the:
- Combined oral contraceptive pill, such as Triphasil
- Progestogen-only contraceptive pill, such as Microval
Injectable hormonal contraception are:
- Nur-Isterate, given every eight weeks
- The Depo Provera injection, given every 12 weeks
"Young people need to start exercising their right to healthcare and visit clinics to find out more about the appropriate birth control method that best suits them, and not rely on their friend's experiences," says Maternal Heath Manager Masina.
Then there is also what is called barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms for both men and women.
Emergency Contraception Pill (ECP)
The ECP is a pill that is taken after having unprotected sex and can be taken up to three days after having had unprotected sex. For women of an average weight, the ECP is 98% effective, but is less effective for those who weigh more than 70kg – in such cases an IUD is recommended. This can be inserted up to five days after unprotected sex, and is more than 99% effective in the prevention of an unwanted pregnancy.
Emergency contraception can be used to prevent pregnancy under the following circumstances:
after unprotection sex
normal contraception defective eg condom burst
missed more than one contraceptive pill
vomiting or had diarrhea while on the pill
The City's health practitioners have encountered myths that some contraceptives will increase appetite, leads to obesity and affect ones' mental wellbeing. There is no truth in those myths. Those who experience unpleasant symptoms are encouraged to visit their nearest clinic for medical attention, and for more information and options available to them.