Illinois action blog

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Nod to World Contraception Day

Monday, September 26th, was World Contraception Day, which highlights the annual campaign to help young people around the globe make informed decisions on their sexual health.  Sponsored by a host of organizations including the International Planned Parenthood Federation, this year’s World Contraception Day has the motto, “Live Your Life. Know your rights. Learn about contraception,” a rallying cry to encourage youth to search for medically accurate, unbiased information on how to protect themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

It’s a message that’s needed now more than ever.  Despite the title of this post, World Contraception Day came with some pretty unhappy news – according to a study released by the WCD task force, rates of unprotected sex among young people are on the rise, while their knowledge of available contraceptive options is down. 

Denise Keller, a member of the task force, said of the study:
“No matter where you are in the world, barriers exist which prevent teenagers from receiving trustworthy information about sex and contraception, which is probably why myths and misconceptions remain so widespread even today.”
You don’t need to look any further than our home state to know the truth of this statement.  Illinois has the 20th highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation and an STI rate well above the national average – and even so, 37 percent of our high school students report not using a condom during their last sexual encounter.  Yikes!

Here at Planned Parenthood, we believe that every day should be World Contraception Day.  Providing teens and young people with the information they need to make responsible decisions about their sexual health is the common sense solution to reducing unintended teen pregnancy and STIs.  Scientific evidence contends that comprehensive sex education helps young adults withstand pressures and promotes healthy, responsible and mutually protective relationships when they do become sexually active. Withholding this vital information from young adults ensures that uninformed adolescents become uninformed adults.

That is why we have a program that helps teens to not only learn all they can about safe sex, but to spread the message to their peers as well.  PPIL’s Teen Awareness Group (TAG) provides training to high school students on how to host educational programs for their fellow students, along parents and community members.  TAG currently operates in Decatur, Bloomington and Champaign and is looking to expand throughout the state.  To learn more about TAG or any of PPIL’s other educational programs, click here.


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