India seems to be finally warming up to the idea of safe sex as revealed by a survey by the National Family Health Survey, 2015-16. The report revealed a spike in the use of contraceptives across all classes especially among the unmarried women. The result is being read as women being more in control of their sexual activities contributed by awareness of contraceptives.
The use of condoms among unmarried women has gone up six times from 2% to 12% in 10 years among sexually active unmarried women in the age group of 15 to 49 years as per the survey. The use was recorded highest for the group of 20-24 years. Despite the willingness of women to opt for safe sex, the decision still rests on men as only three out of eight men thought contraceptives is a woman's business.
States and union territories recording the lowest use were Manipur, Bihar, Meghalaya and Lakshadweep with Punjab and Chattisgarh recording the highest. The survey consisted of interviews and field tests of 6,01,509 households with a response rate of 98% and was prepared by International Institute for Population Science (IIPS).
While the spike is welcoming, India still has a dismal contraceptive prevalence rate of 54% among married women in the 15 to 49 year age bracket. Close to half the female population stick to traditional method of contraceptives like following menstrual cycle and withdrawal. The use of contraceptives is also being linked to income levels with only 36% of women in the lowest wealth quintile using it while the highest quintile recorded 53%. The survey recorded that the public sector was the largest contributor of contraceptive methods like female and male sterilisation and IUDs. The private sector on the other hand majorly contribute to temporary contraceptive methods like pills, injectables and condoms.
The practice of use of condoms however prevails largely for unmarried women. Women seem to be opting for the rubber despite 20% of the interviewed men considering it to be a sign of promiscuity on part of the women. While the government may have been relatively successful in pushing contraceptives, family planning at large still remains alien to the masses.