Recent research has shown that thousands of women are regularly putting their sexual health at risk, particularly after a night out, by relying on emergency hormone contraception – “the morning after pill” – as their regular form of contraception. This, like many other forms of contraception, is not guaranteed to be 100% effective, but it is designed to be used only if other forms have failed, not to be used regularly.
Whilst the morning after pill may help in preventing pregnancy, it offers no protection of other aspects of sexual health, such as STIs. With over 200,000 cases of Chlamydia diagnosed in 2010, it is important that when choosing contraception that the risk of STIs is also taken into consideration, as condoms can reduce the risk considerably, whereas other methods do not.
Some people may argue that the rise in cases of Chlamydia and other STIs being diagnosed is due to increased screening, particularly in sexual health clinics. Whilst this may partly be the case, the levels of STIs being diagnosed, particularly in the under 25 age group, is alarming and all people – women in particular- need to be aware that the risks to their sexual health do stretch further than pregnancy, and the morning after pill cannot help with this.