Friday, 25 May 2007
I also visited Stockton to meet some of the team who have just established our new services there. They are already starting to fly – they are getting out and about in the schools and youth settings as part of their outreach. 17 young people attended one of the clinic sessions in the last couple of weeks, and whilst some of the other sessions are slower to start, I am sure it won’t take long before those who are visiting the service tell others, who tell others, who…
Then when I got on the train and looked at my seat reservation, I realised I was in first class – two single tickets, including one first class ticket had been cheaper than a return… Probably a very good job I won’t be getting used to it - the size of the seats make it harder to use a laptop comfortably anyway.
Monday, 21 May 2007
Tuesday, 15 May 2007
In 20 years we have seen dramatic changes in public attitudes towards condoms, but there is a long way to go.
This week see how many times you can talk about condoms, see if you can slip them into conversations wherever you are and whoever you’re with. Have one hour each day when whatever you are asked you reply condoms, play word association games starting with condoms, have serious conversations with your children and friends about condoms & safer sex. Just get everyone talking about them. Be a condom champion.
Friday, 11 May 2007
About a decade ago I went with a friend to a health centre for emergency contraception. Let’s call my friend Susie. Susie went bright red as she was asked loudly at reception why she was there – “the morning after pill” she tried to whisper and was asked to repeat louder. She was so red and hot, I thought she may explode. We were told to sit down and wait. I tried reassuring Susie who felt embarrassed and ashamed, “accidents happen, no, you are not a slag. No, no-one heard you”. Imagine her horror when the receptionist bellows “where’s the one who needs the morning after pill?” And then, dropping her voice to normal levels to say, “room one”.
Fast forward ten years – A woman like you, a woman like me - a report published yesterday by Schering Health Care Limited, is an interesting read. It is a tale of myths, misinformation and embarrassment about emergency contraception. Emergency contraception is most often used by women aged 25-29 who are in a long term relationship, and yet the report reveals the incorrect perception that it is most likely to be used by teenagers, students and single women. It also shows that many women still lack basic knowledge about where to get emergency contraception, how it will affect them and how it works.
I wish I had been surprised by the findings. So what can we do so things change in the next ten years?
- Stop talking about the morning after pill and start talking about emergency contraception
- Accept mistakes happen and that taking emergency contraception is much more responsible and gives greater peace of mind than crossing your fingers
- If or when you use it, tell someone – don’t keep it a guilty secret
- Think about your workplace, school or college – what can be done to promote the truth about emergency contraception….which is that it is responsible, safe and easy to use it and that it is used daily by women just like YOU.
With these changes the next time someone like Susie needs emergency contraception there should be no stigma; no shame or embarrassment, just a recognition that she is taking responsibility for her sexual health.
Friday, 4 May 2007
Both Brook and Young Farmers staff observed how much more confident people were coming to our stand on the second night to ask for condoms or advice. We know that changing cultures and attitudes towards condoms requires community interventions. We need to promote dialogue with young people and make the issue visible.
We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and are now busy identifying other opportunities like this through which we can help make condoms a mandatory requirement for young people on a big night out.