Tuesday, July 21

Important concept: NUANCE

I’m not going to summarize this entire NYTimes health article, but here’s the gist:

The withdrawal method and condoms end up having a similar pregnancy rate (~17-18% yearly) due to common use. Condoms are better overall, but they have a very high rate of misuse which obviously impacts their effectiveness. So condoms would be better, but people don’t’ use them correctly. Thus, the withdrawal method and condoms end up having similar pregnancy rates.

Pretty simple concept, right?
Well, apparently no one wanted to research the topic..or publish it once it was researched because this incredibly complicated concept might confuse people.

And by people, they clearly (and admittedly) mean teenagers.

Apparently, teenagers might not understand you if you say something like this:

Condoms prevent pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
If you do not use condoms correctly, you are more likely to get pregnant or come into contact with an STI
The withdrawal method may also prevent against pregnancy, but not as well as condoms when they’re used correctly. If you use this method, there is no protection against STIs.
Condoms are better if used correctly.

See that? You can communicate a message about sexual health without assuming that all teenagers are too stupid to understand a little bit of nuance.

The researchers who found the similar pregnancy prevention rates point out that if we share this message, we provide important education and help reduce some of the fear and confusion felt by people not using another method of birth control. They are not advocating for withdrawal over other methods, simply stating that it should be included in list and scaled/measured appropriately.

A little less shame and a little more education seem OK by me.