According to the National Family Health Survey, 2015-16, the use of condoms has gone up in 10 years from 2 per cent to 12 per cent among unmarried women aged 15 to 49 years. The maximum use of condoms among unmarried women is seen in the 20-24 years age group.
Here are some highlights from the survey:
Three out of eight men said that contraception was a women’s business.
99 per cent of married men and women aged 15-49 knew at least one method of contraception. That doesn’t mean that safe sex is always practiced. The overall contraceptive prevalence rate is just 54 per cent among married women aged 15 to 49. Only 10 per cent use a modern contraceptive method.
Most women still use traditional contraceptive methods which include withdrawal and following the cycle
Unmarried women use more modern contraceptive methods. Also, a large number of women are even opting for sterilisation. This is prevalent in the 25-49 years age group.
Modern contraceptive use increased with wealth. 53 per cent of women in the highest quintile used modern contraception.
The public health sector was the main source from which modern contraceptive users obtained their materials.
Men and women believe in condom-efficacy. 61 per cent of men said that if a condom was used properly, it could prevent pregnancy
The states with the lowest contraceptive use were Manipur, Bihar and Meghalaya with 24 per cent each. The states with the highest contraceptive use was Punjab. Chandigarh reported a high contraceptive use of 74 per cent.
In terms of family planning, 2/3rd of married women want family planning.
We asked a few young women about their experience with contraceptives
Shruti, a 27-year-old writer, says that there is still a stigma around buying and owning condoms. I have never bought condoms, since I am afraid of the way I will be perceived,” she says. Further, Shruti says that she lives with her parents, and if they found condoms in her belongings, they wouldn’t be too happy.
Unmarried women are often slut-shamed for carrying condoms. The common stance is that a man should be the one carrying them.
Buying contraceptives at a chemist is a terrifying ordeal for some. “I remember once when I had to buy an i-pill, I was pacing outside a chemist. Finally writing down my request and slipping it across the counter. I didn’t want to deal with the look of judgement,” recounts Pallavi.
So while the use of condoms has gone up, the stigma is still very much around.
Picture Credit: Livemint