A survey by Marie Stopes International reveals that a false sense of security means many people are failing to protect themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
In 2012, there were 185,122 abortions in England and Wales[i] and sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnoses rose by 5% in England to 448,422,[ii] yet a new survey reveals that despite not trying for a baby 42% of people in Yorkshire and the Humber who have had sex in the last 12 months have done so without any form of contraception.
The poll of over 4,000 adults in Britain exposed significant gaps in awareness about risk with 86% of people in Yorkshire and the Humber who had had unprotected sex in the last 12 months believing they were very unlikely to contract an STI and 80% thinking it was very unlikely that they would fall pregnant.
Tracey McNeill, the senior vice president of Marie Stopes UK said:
“British adults are in denial over the risks of pregnancy and infection. The potential consequences of unprotected sex include unintended pregnancy and incurable infections like HIV. This survey shows that people still underestimate the risks they are taking.
“Over the Christmas and New Year festivities, people can sometimes get carried away. On average Marie Stopes UK experiences a 10% increase in women accessing our services during January and February. I’d urge anyone with any concerns to call us for a free pregnancy test as soon as possible.”
Interestingly it seems that attitudes to the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections become more cavalier with age. The over-50s are now the fastest growing group of people with HIV in the UK with a quarter of all people living with HIV aged 50 or over.[iii] Yet according to the survey those aged 55 or over were the least risk-aware, with 94% of those questioned stating it was very unlikely that they would contract an STI.
Tracey McNeill added:
“Using a condom alongside a long-term contraception method, such as implants, the coil or injections is the best way to prevent unplanned pregnancy and ensure people do not become infected with a serious sexually transmitted infection.”
Anyone who would like to request a free pregnancy test can call Marie Stopes International’s helpline on 0845 371 0186.