Expatica news

Safe sex campaign to reduce teen abortions

23 September 2005

BRUSSELS — Concerned by the number of teenage abortions, Health Minister Rudi Demotte is to launch a new campaign aimed at promoting safe sex among Belgian youths.

More than 5,000 teenage girls become pregnant in Belgium each year and almost 3,000 girls aged between 13 and 20 undergo an abortion. More than half of them did not use contraception.

After making the pill cheaper — and almost free — last year, Minister Demotte has decided to further improve the accessibility of contraceptives to the nation’s youths.

Since 1 May 2004, girls have been paying EUR 3 less per month for the pill, IUD, vaginal rings and implants. Second generation pills are even free, the same as the morning-after pill. The campaign reached 130,000 people last year.

Minister Demotte now wants to reach out to male youths and will distribute 900,000 condoms. Every girl who picks up a contraceptive from a pharmacist in 2005 and 2006 will receive a free condom.

“That is primarily a symbolic act. It is not my intention to make condoms free, but to make youths conscious of the need to use double protection during sex. One third of youths don’t use a condom,” Demotte said.

Besides the distribution of condoms, an information campaign will be launched at the end of the month with advertisements on youth broadcasters.

A photo-novel telling the life of a teenage mother, Laura — who became pregnant by not using contraception — will also appear in youth magazines.

“The key messages of the campaign are that the pill for youths has been made cheaper or even free in certain cases and that only a condom protects against STDs,” Demotte said.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news