World Population Day: Condom use declines by 50%, only women responsible for contraception?
According to the research by the ministry of health, the use of contraceptives at large declined by 35 percent in these eight years, with condom use falling by 52 percent while vasectomies falling by 73 percent. This reflected reluctance on the part of men to use birth control. Along with these, the use of oral birth-control pills also fell by 30 percent.
While less and fewer men are now willing to undergo vasectomies, the number of women has remained steady. In 2008-09, about 5.5 million agreed to use an intrauterine contraceptive device in order to avoid pregnancy. There has been no drop in that number over these years.
Condom use declines in Kerala better in Bihar
One may be inclined to ask if the data is universal in approach. Sadly, it is. The research examined rich, poor and better-educated Indians and all of them are resorting to last-minute birth control options. This is reflected in the fact that the usage of condoms plunged in the country’s most literate state, Kerala, while it rose in Bihar, the state with the lowest literacy!
In Bihar, the use of condoms doubled in these eight years and the use of oral contraception went up four times! While in Kerala, condom use dropped by a whopping 42 percent.
Why are men avoiding condoms?
We ran a poll on our social handles which asked a pertinent question – Are men reluctant to use condoms? Around 62 percent of our respondents said that men are indeed reluctant, while 38 answered with a no.
It is sad that the decline in condom use is happening at the time when it is a)accessible and easy to use and b)we need family planning in place.
However, when we look at why men are avoiding condoms and vasectomies, experts believe that it is because men think that condoms reduce the pleasure they derive out of sex. And vasectomies are a euphemistic form of castration; they think it robs them of their manhood.
The decline in the use of contraception by men forces women to use IUCDs or oral pills, the health impacts of which concern women.
Harms of emergency contraception and abortion
With the declining use of condoms and traditional contraception, the use of emergency contraception rose by a whopping 100 percent in these eight years. However, these emergency pills, as the name suggests, are to be used only in case of an emergency and not as a substitute for traditional contraception. This is because they have a multitude of side effects, such as infertility, disruption in the menstrual cycle and intermittent bleeding during menstruation. In the short term, they can make the woman gain weight, cause nausea, mood swings, missed periods and even headaches.
One problematic trend that has lead women to use contraceptives over other methods such as IUCDs is the instructive advertising of these pills. The production companies show them as the best and easiest way to prevent a pregnancy, while the government is failing to communicate the benefits of other methods to its contraceptive users.
The decline in the use of traditional contraceptives has also led women to choose abortions, while many even reported trying self-abortions. The number of abortions in these eight years doubled up! However, this contraception method is even scarier and can lead to persistent bleeding, infection, cervix damage, perforation of the uterus or scarring of its lining and even death. In the short term, severe abdominal pain, fever, pregnancy symptoms, heavy bleeding, foul-smelling discharge, among other things, can happen.