Sixty percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 may not truly understand how proper use of contraception can prevent pregnancy, according to a new study from the Guttmacher Institute, which reports abstinence-only sex education may be leaving young adults with a subpar understanding of sexual health.
After quizzing a nationally representative group of 1,800 unmarried women and men in that age group, the study, published in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, concluded that more than half of the respondents received low scores on contraceptive knowledge, with 60 percent reportedly underestimating the effectiveness of birth control pills.
The quiz asked respondents to choose “true” or “false” answers for basic statements such as “all IUDs are banned from use in the United States” or “condoms have an expiration date.” More than half of the men and a quarter of the women received either a D or F on the quiz.
Although a majority of the respondents — 69 percent of women and almost half of the men — agreed they were “committed to avoiding pregnancy,” they seemed to question whether contraceptive devices such as condoms or birth control pills were an effective way to achieve that goal. A considerable 40 percent of respondents said contraception doesn’t matter because “when it is your time to get pregnant, it will happen.”
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And get proactive in the ways we all can easily: if you have friends, partners or family members who you know or suspect have misinformation about contraception, send them to places they can get that information, like online at Scarleteen, Sex, Etc. or Planned Parenthood, or let them know that a sexual/reproductive healthcare provider can always give them a contraceptive consult if they ask for one.