Family planning is a burning issue which is of concern to the governments in both developing and developed countries. In developing countries the issues are two fold -- the control of a burgeoning population and the spread of sexually transmitted disease.
In developed countries, population is not an issue rather the incidence of rampant unprotected sex which is happening at an increasingly younger age. The consequence has been a rise in unwanted pregnancies and single mothers and the spread of STDs, especially the dreaded HIV.
To combat this, the World Health Organization and governments the world over have increased budgets on family planning and have intensified efforts in this direction.
Pharmaceutical companies have been encouraged to find better, more effective and more acceptable methods. The condom, for example, is an effective barrier against both an unwanted pregnancy and STDs. Yet in many cases, it is considered unacceptable and discarded on grounds that the condom interferes and diminishes sexual pleasure. Similarly, the pill is distributed freely in some third world countries to those below the poverty line, but the response has been disappointing. Currently the choice is the ‘least bad alternative’ if one is adopted at all.
Currently the ‘morning after’ pill is gaining popularity though this is an emergency measure and not contraception in the strictest sense of the word.
Surprisingly some of the methods gaining popularity are reverting to natural methods. One of them of UK origin, known as Persona, entails a urine sticker and a small hand held kit to indicate to a woman with a greater degree of accuracy the days on which she is fertile during which abstinence or alternative methods are resorted to. Cycle beads is a set of color coded beads that serve the same purpose to indicate the period of maximum fertility during which unprotected sex should be avoided.
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