India is the country which has the largest number of young people in the world! A young force forms the backbone of the country and is largely responsible for the economic development of the country. If our youth are healthy, wealthy will be our nation.

Unfortunately, even though the Central Government is convinced about the need to educate our young on Reproductive and Sexual health, there is a lot of opposition from various states, their main objection being that this knowledge would promote promiscuity. This is absolutely untrue because various studies have shown that it does not encourage promiscuity but encourages safe sex.

With the growing numbers of women in careers, leading to late marriages, there is a rise in the increase of premarital sex in our country. And unfortunately, as they have no knowledge related to problems related to unprotected sex, they are more likely to fall prey to various complications. Unprotected sex will most certainly lead them to unwanted pregnancies, which could lead to unsafe abortion followed by infection, bleeding, chronic disabilities and sometimes even death.

Sexual activity itself could transmit reproductive tract infections from one partner to the other and thereon to many others if there are multiple partners. This would spread infections like HIV, Hepatitis B, Syphilis Gonorrhoea, etc.

Lack of contraceptive knowledge prevents our youth from using safe and effective contraception. It is the Government’s responsibility to spread awareness on this issue. Instead Corporates, who are marketing the “Emergency Contraceptive Pill(ECP) are marketing it aggressively, with the result that our youth think that the ECP is the contraceptive of choice!

The ECP is actually meant to be used only in an “emergency” when the actual contraceptive either fails or is not used eg. if a woman has missed one of her daily oral contraceptive pill, or if the condom tears or falls off during sexual activity, or if a woman is raped! The availability of the ECP over the counter is made only to assist young girls in such situations because the ECP pills needs to be taken at the earliest after any of the above events. But because it has become an “Over the counter” drug not needing a prescription, in India it has led to its total misuse as the primary contraceptive by many young people. This leads to a lot of failures with many getting pregnant, which they do not realize, till late, because they believe that if they have taken the pill, they will not get pregnant! It has also increased infection rates, because then partners now do not use condoms, because they don’t like using them and instead offer an ECP to the girls!

Repeated use of ECP’s causes menstrual irregularities and the failure rate is definitely higher than the use of the oral contraceptive pills or the condoms.

I strongly feel that if we promote educational programs on reproductive and sexual health programs amongst our young, we will be able to prevent many complications and have a healthier society in the years to come.