Plan B: Availability of morning-after pill does not affect promiscuity, health officials say

With the availability of emergency contraceptives like the “morning-after pill” at Student Health Services, student health officials say that contraceptives do not encourage promiscuity.

“We don’t see [promiscuity] here,” said Victoria Judd, director of Student Health Services (SHS). “We see people that are very responsible and well educated.”

SHS deals with contraceptives 20 percent of the time, and less than 1 percent of those contraceptives are Plan B, the technical term for what is often called the “morning after pill.”

Judd said women returning for a second prescription for Plan B is a rare occurrence.

“There’s a rule here that we talk about all the forms of contraceptives,” Judd said. “The patient leaves with a good understanding of other contraceptives,” she said.

Plan B has been available at SHS since the federal government approved it in 1999. Plan B can be sold over-the-counter in May.

If taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse, it can reduce the risk of pregnancy by 89 percent.

Side effects of the pill include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, lower abdomen pain, headaches and dizziness.

Plan B can be provided as frequently as possible, but it is not recommended for routine use as a contraceptive among sexually active women.

The failure rate of Plan B is calculated for a single use. If Plan B is used more than once, the cumulative failure rate will be higher.Most students asking for Plan B are younger women, Judd said.

“As a part of [distributing contraceptives], we also educate the students,” Judd said.

With the FDA approving Plan B for an over-the-counter contraceptive, said Clayton Vetter, Planned Parenthood education director, it will be impossible to correlate an increase of promiscuity and the availability of the pill.

Studies done in the United States and Scotland indicate that women who receive emergency contraceptives in advance of need are two to three times more likely to use them, but not more likely to use them repeatedly. Women who receive emergency contraceptives in advance are no more likely to engage in unprotected sex and no more likely to use their regular contraceptive methods less consistently, according to www.go2planb.com.

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