A woman’s right to choose her reproductive system has been a topic of much discussion in recent years, especially after the advent of a new type of contraception, which has allowed women to choose when and where they want to have an abortion.
Now, an Australian health expert says it’s time to examine whether the country has really made a dent in the problem of sexually transmitted diseases.
Dr Andrew Smith, a professor of public health at the University of Melbourne, says it is time to move beyond the notion that women are only sexually active once they’ve had children.
“I think there is a big problem with the notion of women only having sex once they are pregnant,” Dr Smith said.
“We’re actually now seeing cases of men who have unprotected sex in the first trimester and then in the second trimester.”
What’s more, we’re seeing that we have some really high rates of pre-eclampsia, and a lot of women who are having babies at that time have pre-existing conditions that predispose them to pre- and post-elevated levels of cortisol.
“Women have to be careful with their health when they have babies because they’re going to be very exposed to a range of health issues in the future.”
Dr Smith says that the problem is not just with the birth of a child.
It is also with the spread of the virus and the impact of an increase in infections and deaths.
“It is an infectious disease,” he said.
“The transmission of the disease is increasing in women, and as more people have kids, there’s going to have to come a point where the rate of transmission is going to increase.”
Dr Adam Grant, a lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology at the Australian National University, says that, despite the rise in women having children, the problem remains the same.
Professor Grant said that there were still significant disparities in the rates of infection and death between men and women.
“If you look at women in the general population, they’re much more likely to have more than one child, so if you’re in a low-income family, you’re more likely have children, but if you have a higher income family, that means you’re much less likely to get a birth, and that means that you’re less likely in general to have a child in that family,” he explained.
“The number of deaths that are occurring are happening in very different circumstances.”
There’s also the problem that we’re not even seeing a decrease in deaths.
“There are very few deaths that we know about, which means that the rate is rising, and so it’s not the same as it was when we first started reporting the number of cases of cervical cancer.”
Dr Grant said the problem was exacerbated by the increasing use of condoms in Australia.
“When we have a high-risk group of women, like high-income women, we don’t want to be out-and-out sexually active,” he added.
“Our high-cost group of people is also sexually active, so we don`t want to risk our health and our lives by engaging in unsafe sex.”
And of course we know that if we donít get our period that’s a good time for transmission.
“Australian women are often reluctant to use condoms, Dr Grant said.
They tend to be worried about getting pregnant and they also tend to have higher rates of depression.”
So in terms of our current sexual behaviours and behaviours we want to encourage our women to have sex, but they’re reluctant to have that conversation,” he suggested.
Dr Smith said the country had a long way to go to address the problem.”
For example, we’ve got a lot to be ashamed of in this country,” he lamented.”
In Australia, we have to think that there is something to be proud of, that we are still doing things that are really good, and we have the right tools to do it.
“But I think there’s still a long ways to go.”