Palawan Teens on Preg­nancy Pre­ven­tion: Jump Up and Down Af­ter Sex

The Philip­pines is a ser­va­tive coun­try and most view sex and sex­u­al­ity as some­thing in­ap­pro­pri­ate to dis­cuss. Thus, young peo­ple do not re­ceive sci­en­tif­i­cally based sex­u­al­ity ed­u­ca­tion in schools and do not re­ceive any guid­ance or in­for­ma­tion from t

Palawan News - - OPINION -

I’ve spent the last two days at­tend­ing work­shops with the De­part­ment of So­cial Wel­fare and De­vel­op­ment. In dis­cussing young peo­ple as a vul­ner­a­ble group that needs spe­cial care and at­ten­tion, I was re­minded once again of how lit­tle knowl­edge this group has about re­pro­duc­tive health. Does jump­ing up and down af­ter sex pre­vent preg­nancy? A shock­ing 74% of nearly 5,000 young peo­ple taught re­pro­duc­tive health ed­u­ca­tion by Ugat ng Kalusugan in Palawan in 2017 said yes ( the cor­rect an­swer is no!). 49% also be­lieved that it is im­pos­si­ble to get preg­nant if it’s your first time to have sex ( it is not im­pos­si­ble! Or even un­likely!). 86% of re­spon­dents be­lieved that with­drawal is an ef­fec­tive con­tra­cep­tion method ( it’s not!). Only 66% of re­spon­dents knew that con­doms can pro­tect against preg­nancy and HIV ( they can!), and fi­nally, 38% be­lieved that Filipinos are safe from HIV ( we’re not!). Given all this, it isn’t sur­pris­ing that Palawan’s teen preg­nancy rate is at nearly 30%. It’s also not sur­pris­ing that Palawan has the high­est in­ci­dence of HIV in the MIMAROPA Re­gion. The Philip­pines is a con­ser­va­tive coun­try and most view sex and sex­u­al­ity as some­thing in­ap­pro­pri­ate to dis­cuss. Thus, young peo­ple do not re­ceive sci­en­tif­i­cally based sex­u­al­ity ed­u­ca­tion in schools and do not re­ceive any guid­ance or in­for­ma­tion from their par­ents. Young peo­ple re­port to Ugat ng Kalusugan that the only sex­u­al­ity ad­vice they re­ceive from par­ents and/ or teach­ers is be­ing told not to have sex un­til mar­riage. How­ever, many young peo­ple do not wait un­til they are mar­ried to have sex. The 2013 Young Adult Fer­til­ity and Sex­u­al­ity Study ( YAFS 4) con­ducted by the Uni­ver­sity of the Philip­pines Pop­u­la­tion In­sti­tute ( UPPI) and the De­mo­graphic Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Foun­da­tion, Inc. DRDF) ( found that one in three Filipinos ( 33%) aged 15 to 24 years old have en­gaged in pre­mar­i­tal sex. This per­cent­age trans­lates to roughly 6.2 mil­lion young peo­ple en­gag­ing in sex with­out know­ing how to pro­tect them­selves. Our teen preg­nancy rates clearly sup­port these find­ings that many teens are sex­u­ally ac­tive. For many young peo­ple, ab­sti­nence un­til mar­riage is a choice and a com­mit­ment that they have made. But, for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, other young peo­ple have not made this com­mit­ment, or choose not to fol­low through. And be­cause they have never had for­mal sex­u­al­ity ed­u­ca­tion, they do not know how to keep them­selves safe from un­in­tended preg­nancy and sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted in­fec­tions like HIV. At Ugat ng Kalusugan, one of our goals is to help pre­vent teen preg­nancy. We teach young peo­ple and we en­cour­age them to de­lay sex un­til they are older. We help them to rec­og­nize that an un­planned preg­nancy could de­rail their ed­u­ca­tion and pre­vent them from achiev­ing their goals and dreams. But, we do not ig­nore the fact that 33% of young peo­ple do en­gage in sex even if they say they won’t. And some of the young peo­ple we teach are al­ready in­volved in sex­ual re­la­tion­ships. There­fore, we pro­vide ed­u­ca­tion to help cor­rect mis­con­cep­tions and pre­vent mis­in­for­ma­tion. I’m pleased to re­port that af­ter our in­ter­ven­tion with the stu­dents I men­tioned above, 93% knew that jump­ing up and down af­ter sex does not pre­vent preg­nancy. 96% of them knew that a girl can get preg­nant even if it’s her first sex­ual en­counter. 72% knew that with­drawal is not an ef­fec­tive form of con­tra­cep­tion. 93% knew that con­doms are an ef­fec­tive method to pre­vent preg­nancy and STIs, and 90% knew that Filipinos are not safe from HIV. This knowl­edge is cru­cial to spread among other youth in our ef­forts to help pre­vent teen preg­nancy and the con­tin­ued spread of HIV.

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