SHINE SA media release: CONTRACEPTION IS ESSENTIAL IN PREVENTING RISE IN UNINTENDED PREGNANCY DURING COVID-19

SHINE SA Media Release: 2 April 2020

Sexual and reproductive health must remain at the forefront of our minds during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is possible that throughout this crisis we may see a rise in unintended pregnancy as well as incidences of domestic violence, sexual violence and sexual coercion.  Unfortunately this could come at a time where our health systems are focused on the prevention and management of the pandemic itself. In addition to general sexual health services, access to pregnancy options including abortion may be impacted over the next 6 months.

Unintended pregnancy rates are already high in Australia. It is estimated that half of all pregnancies are unplanned. It is possible that self-isolation/quarantine measures could see an increase in unprotected sexual activity without reliable forms of contraception. These circumstances may contribute to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections in an environment where support systems and personal wellbeing have been affected.

SHINE SA asks that people consider all of their contraceptive choices at this time. This includes long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) options, especially if they do not wish to become pregnant in the near future. These options can be discussed with a general practitioner.

It’s also important that people are aware that they can access the emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) from community pharmacies. Oral emergency contraception is effective up to 120 hours after unprotected sex but the sooner it is taken, the greater the effectiveness.

  • South Australians looking for advice on any sexual health issue including contraception and unintended pregnancy can call SHINE SA’s Sexual Healthline.
    This is a free and confidential service provided by SHINE SA’s sexual health nurses. Call: 1300 883 793; Toll free: 1800 188 171 (country callers only).
    The Sexual Healthline is open Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 12:30pm.
  • Australians can also call 1800 RESPECT, the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling and information referral service. This service is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Yarrow Place Rape and Sexual Assault Service is a South Australian service for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. Call 8226 8777 or visit the Yarrow Place website for more information.
  • Visit the SHINE SA website for more information on Emergency ContraceptionChoices in Contraception and Safer Sex.
  • Download this Media Release.

Emergency contraception awareness in an at‐risk population

Hope, D. L., Hattingh, L. and King, M. A. (2019) J Pharm Pract Res. doi:10.1002/jppr.1554

Background

Consumer awareness of emergency contraception is generally poor. School leavers (schoolies) engage in risky behaviours, including casual sex and alcohol and drug consumption.

Aim

The aim of this study was to explore the awareness of an at‐risk population of schoolies regarding the use and availability of emergency contraception.

Methods

An electronic survey was self‐administered by participants using Wi‐Fi‐connected iPads at the Schoolies Wristband Distribution Centre, Surfers Paradise, on the first day of Queensland Schoolies Week, November 2017. Outcomes measured were awareness of the availability of emergency contraception from a pharmacy, maximum time for effective use following unprotected intercourse and whether emergency contraception is harmful to the health of the user.

Results

Schoolies completed 498 valid surveys. Most (83.5%) were aged 17 years and 50.8% were aware that emergency contraception is available from community pharmacies with prescription and 36.7% were aware that it is available without prescription; 18.5% were aware of the 72‐ or 120‐h effectiveness window and 38.0% agreed that it is not harmful. All questions were associated with considerable uncertainty. Females were 1.8‐ to 3.2‐fold more likely than males to provide an appropriate response to any emergency contraception statement.

Conclusion

Schoolies’ awareness of emergency contraception availability, effectiveness window and safety was low. At‐risk schoolies may not access emergency contraception when indicated due to fear of harm, uncertainty about its effectiveness window or a lack of knowledge about timely non‐prescription access from community pharmacies. Targeted education may improve current knowledge gaps. The misnomer ‘morning‐after pill’ should be abandoned for the clinically appropriate term ‘emergency contraception.

 

Clinical Education Forum Recording: Contraception Update

SHINE SA, November 2018

Clinicians:  SHINE SA is pleased to present the following Clinical Forum by Dr Amy Moten on the topic of Contraception.

This recording is available free of charge, and access is limited to three months only.

This forum covers emergency contraception and new formulations of the Pill.

3 Category 2 RACGP Points can be awarded on completion of the forum.

Recording length: 1 hour 18 minutes

Push to dispel myths about long-lasting contraception

Guardian Australia, Tuesday 26 September 2017 

Misplaced concerns and myths about long-acting reversible contraceptives have prompted medical experts to release Australia’s first consensus statement, saying they are more reliable and effective than condoms or the pill.

Despite their safety, efficacy and widespread use internationally, the uptake of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) is low in Australia. On Tuesday the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association released a consensus statement – endorsed by 18 agencies, including SHINE SA – on the use of LARCs.

Unplanned pregnancy resources for patients & health professionals

Women’s Health Victoria Clearinghouse Connector,  June 2017

This Clearinghouse Connector focuses on the experience of unplanned pregnancy in Australia and the resources available for women and health professionals to help navigate the decision making process.

Although there is surprisingly little information available about the prevalence of unintended pregnancy in Australia, it has been estimated that half of all pregnancies per year in Australia are unplanned. Outcomes for unplanned pregnancies include parenting, miscarriage, abortion and adoption, with parenting being the most likely outcome and adoption the least likely.

Factors influencing women’s decisions about whether or not to continue a pregnancy include the level of support they are likely to receive, the financial resources they have access to, and their own emotional readiness to become parents. Regardless of whether a woman decides to continue or terminate her pregnancy she will need access to appropriate, sensitive and non-judgmental supports and services.

TGA backs consumer adverts for ulipristal in Australia

Pharmacy News, 19 May, 2017

The TGA has agreed that consumer advertising should be allowed for the emergency contraceptive ulipristal.

This will help increase public awareness and access to ulipristal (branded EllaOne) and therefore reduce unplanned pregnancies, says the TGA.