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More contraceptive choices than ever before

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

National News

People in New Zealand have more contraceptive choices than ever before. There are now as many as 13 contraceptives available that might be suitable, depending on a person's age and life stage.

World Contraception Day, on 26 September, is an opportunity to highlight the availability and accessibility of contraception in New Zealand – and the fact that many options are available at low or no cost.

Our National Medical Advisor Dr Christine Roke says there has a lot of changes in the last few years with more emphasis on long-acting methods which many people find easier to use.

“As well as the different types of contraceptive pills, we now have more access to long-acting reversible contraceptives such as IUDs and implants”, says Dr Roke. “These are highly effective and in some cases they are fully funded. What's more they are ‘fit and forget”.

There are also more medium-term options including:

  • Depo Provera, which lasts for 12 weeks 
  • NuvaRing, which last for 3 weeks

“NuvaRing only became available in New Zealand this year”, Dr Roke explains. “One ring lasts for three weeks so it's a good option for those who don't wish to take a pill every day”.

Condoms and diaphragms are still the only methods of contraception that also help protect against STIs.

World Contraception Day is based on a vision for a world where every pregnancy is wanted.

“The contraceptive methods to make this possible are available, effective and in many cases affordable”, says Dr Roke.

Barriers to the uptake of these methods still persist however. Among these is:

  • a lack of knowledge of contraception, particularly among young people
  • embarrassment or shyness that stops young people from seeking information about sexual and reproductive health.

Dr Roke stresses that comprehensive sexuality education and making services easy to access are key to ensuring that young people know their options and can access them.

In our Pacific Island neighbours, unmet need for family planning is among the highest in the world. New research by Family Planning International has found that meeting family planning needs in two countries, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, by 2020 would have significant impacts on maternal and child health. For example, 2,573 deaths of mothers and infants would be prevented from 2010–2025.

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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