The use of contraceptives is on the rise in Jamaica, with 85 per cent of women surveyed having used a birth control method, according to the 2008 Reproductive Health Survey.
The information was highlighted in a recent press release from The National Family Planning Board.
"Experience of ever using contraceptives is high regardless of education level, ranging from 82% of women with nine or fewer levels of education achieved, up to 88% for women at level 13 or higher," the report stated.
"Seventy-three per cent of women currently in a union reported current use of contraceptives," the survey said.
"More reliable, modern methods are the most commonly used, with 84% of women having ever used a modern method. Among current contraceptive users, the most popular methods were the condom, the pill and injectables. Almost one-half of users (47%) rely on condoms, which provides dual protection against unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)."
In comparison to previous years, more women are beginning contraceptive use prior to their first birth. Sixty-five per cent of women had no children when they first used a contraceptive method, compared to only 54% in the 2002 and 1997 surveys.
"There has been a significant improvement in the availability of family planning services at government facilities since the 2002 survey. Over half of women (51%) said these services were available at any time, up from 31%.
"Among sexually experienced women who were not using contraception, 57% reported that they intend to use a method in the future."
The increase in the number and types of contraceptives - available to men and women of reproductive age (15 to 49 years) - provides the option for an individual to protect themselves against unwanted/unplanned pregnancies and STIs/HIV.
To date, the most effective methods of contraception are abstinence or Dual Method Use, as these protect against unplanned pregnancies and STI/HIV acquisition. Dual Method Use is the use of a male or female condom with the use of a primary contraceptive method.
Their use reduces the need for unsafe abortions and reinforces the right to determine the number and spacing of children. Remember, safe sex is the best sex.