Contraception from a holistic perspective – a user view

Contraception from a holistic perspective – a user view

T. Belfield

Family Planning Association, UK

Patients, consumers, users, clients are all terms for women and men who

receive sexual health services. The reality is whatever we call people we see

for information, advice, support and treatment – without them we would have no

role. The last 30 years has seen a huge change in the availability and provision

of contraceptive methods. Contraception has moved from the narrow confines of

women’s welfare to being an integral part of sexual health. This recognises

that contraception involves men, is provided for in many different types of

settings and importantly must be seen as more than just protecting against

unplanned pregnancy, and needs to encompass the wider area of sexual health

including sexual infection, abortion and sexual wellbeing. Research shows us

that people are having more sexual partners, that they are knowledgeable about

contraception and the use of condoms but do not use contraception consistently

or always correctly, that sexually transmitted infections are increasing and

that there is a wide variability in sexual lifestyles by age, gender,

relationship and residence and all this is normal. Research also shows us that

people do not always behave rationally, or in an organised or planned manner

with their sex lives. As such sexual health services need to develop a holistic

approach and become more ‘person-centred’ and must address more than ‘just

the waist down’ but involve ‘hearts and minds’ too.

This short presentation will look at user’s perspectives on contraception

and contraceptive services to provide an understanding of what people think

about contraceptive methods, and how this translates into use or non-use of

contraception, and why contraceptive provision must be seen within the context

of sexual health.

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