Action needed on crisis pregnancies
The HSE study showing that 90pc of 18 to 25-year-olds use contraception when having sex demonstrates that official information campaigns encouraging young people to practice safe sex are having an impact. However, the study also found that one-third of pregnancies are still defined as "crisis pregnancies".
These results are contained in the Irish Contraceptive and Crisis Pregnancy Study 2010, which was launched yesterday. The study also found that not alone had the proportion of young people using contraception increased since the last survey was conducted in 2003, the age at which young women first had sex had risen slightly.
These findings almost certainly tie in with the fact that a very high proportion of young people (86pc of 18 to 25-year olds) had received sex education. Indeed younger people are significantly more likely both to use contraception and have received sex education than either the 26 to 35-year olds or the 36 to 45-year olds who were also surveyed.
Unfortunately the one negative factor in what is generally an improving situation was the worrying finding on crisis pregnancies.
A "crisis pregnancy" is usually but not always an unplanned pregnancy. Congratulations are due to bodies such as the HSE's Crisis Pregnancy for their success in raising public awareness of the need for safe sex but more needs to be done if the proportion of crisis pregnancies is to be reduced from the current very high level.