ScienceDaily Feb. 2, 2011
Offering the morning after pill free over the counter has not reduced the number of teenage pregnancies and may be associated with a rise in sexually-transmitted diseases (STIs), according to a report by experts at The University of Nottingham. Professors David Paton and Sourafel Girma used local health authority data to study the impact that the introduction of Government-backed schemes to offer emergency birth control at pharmacies and without prescription have had on conception rates and the diagnosis of STIs among under-18s. Their findings show that, on average, areas operating a pharmacy emergency birth control (EBC) scheme saw an overall increase of five percent in the rate of STIs among teenagers — 12 per cent in the under-16s age group. The study also found that EBC schemes may actually be associated with a small increase in the number of teens falling pregnant.
The Nottingham researchers, who are economists in the Nottingham University Business School, aimed to test the assumption thatproviding emergency contraception for free to teenagers could lead to an increase in risky sexual behaviour, potentially leading to an increase of STIs as sexual partners substitute the morning after pill for condoms and cancelling out any benefits from an increase in the number or people using emergency contraceptives.