World Contraception Day: Myths, Rumors, and Rubbish
Published in partnership with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Live blog.
Crocodile feces, honey, dates, hot mercury, fish, opium, half a lemon, disinfectant, cola, animal intestines, weasel testicles, a hare's anus, and the toxic sludge from a blacksmith's workshop. Sounds like the contents of Heston Blumenthal's kitchen cupboard.
In fact, these ingredients, in various combinations, have all been ingested, inserted, digested, or applied as contraceptive measures over the years. Few of them worked. Many resulted in death.
Wednesday, September 26th, is World Contraception Day. This is a day of campaigning for a world in which "every pregnancy is wanted." Its mission is to improve awareness of contraception among young people, so that they can make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health (SRH).
Times have moved on since the days of such weird concoctions. More than 20 different methods of long-acting and short-acting hormonal and barrier contraception are now available, many of which are 99-percent-plus effective.
But strange superstitions live on. Take the pill, and you'll gain weight, grow a beard, become infertile, and smell funny. HIV and STI cells are so small, so the story goes, that they can slip through the walls of a condom.