More Jadelle furore

So, on Stuff.co.nz this morning there was an article titled ‘Implant to protect against teen pregnancies’, about the Jadelle implant (which I have written about previously). I understand that Family Planning hopes it will tackle teen pregancy rates, and I agree that this is one of the benefits of it. But it is also important for us to remember that this implant, which lasts for 5 years, is also a nice option to have available for women in long-term relationships; and one such woman is quoted in the article, saying that being someone in a long-term relationship who doesn’t want kids makes it a good choice for her. I suppose maybe I am just being pedantic about the article’s title, which to me somehow seems like it’s a bit close to “teen pregnancy epidemic!11!” territory.

Tha article also has some opinions from people opposed to the implants (for teenagers, specifically)

But there are growing concerns the implant will lull teenagers into a false sense of security, leading to further increases in STIs, particularly chlamydia.

STIs have already reached epidemic proportions, said Andrea Hunt, the area manager for Yrchoice, a life skills programme which targets year nine and ten students from Taranaki schools and encourages them to make healthy sexual choices.

“Like similar methods of contraception, it may prevent pregnancy – but it won’t prevent STIs,” she warned.

“There is a possibility that young people may think pregnancy is the worse thing that can happen to them, and not be aware of other dangers.”

To be honest, I don’t really think this is a good argument, because exactly the same thing is said about the pill all the time by people who are anti-contraceptive pill, and if you took away all contraception that didn’t protect against STI’s then you are essentially robbing women of their choice. I do think that adding another alternative is a good thing, because this may be the perfecct option for someone out there, and women having reproductive freedom makes me happy. And yes, I do acknowledge that Jadelle (obviously) wont protect against STI’s,  but I also think it seems unlikely that it will make a lot of teen girls go out and have unprotected (against STI’s) sex who wouldn’t have already done so. Yes, some people do think pregnancy is the worst thing that can come from having sex, but it seems unlikely that Jadelle will add to this. Women who ignore STI risks like that can do so while on the pill, or any number of other contraceptive methods too, and from there is becomes a slippery slope towards saying only condoms are ok for contraception. (Note: obviously, I am an advocate for condoms, and testing, and taking care of your reproductive health, and disclosure, and communication with partners. But I am also an advocate for choice, and trusting women).

This, I feel, sums up my attitude towards the situation:

But nurse practitioner Lou Roebuck, of youth health clinic Waves, said the risk of getting STIs while using the implant was no different from that of IUDs or injections. Waves provides sexual health services for people as young as 10.

“We see most young people being responsible about their sexual health these days.This is a really good, low cost option which is perfect for young people or people who have finished having their family.”

Woo hoo, options!

Anyway, what I really wanted to mention was this quote near the end of the article:

Student Alice Turnbull, 20, said she would be horrified if she fell pregnant but doesn’t want anything inserted under her skin.”I don’t want to be crazy and get into conspiracy theories. But this could be one way of starting to track people. You’re just trusting the people who administer it.”

I’m with her on the not wanting something inserted under my skin part, but then she lost me a little bit…I don’t know if Jadelle implants have GPS devices in them, or if people would be able to run a barcode scanner over you and know your information. It’s only 2010 after all; not quite at the hovercraft transportation dystopian future yet. (Although, speaking of contraceptive implants/tracking, you should totally check out The Carhullan Army).

20 Comments

  1. Amanda says:

    Didn’t you know that the Illuminati tracks all condom sales around the world by GPS, to report the data back to the Vatican?

    Also, when saying “X contraceptive will still give you STI!!11!” it sounds like a disparagement against doctors, Family Planning and common sense. I’d imagine if you’re going to the trouble to have an implant inserted, then the doctor or nurse will be making it very clear what it can and can’t do, as well as giving further advice about STIs.

    And you know what? Kids are only as stupid as you want them to be. Want them to not get STIs or pregnant? Give them a good sexual education and proper access to contraceptives. “But they’ll have omgsex!” Dude, they already ARE. Deal.

    • steph says:

      Yeah, I trust the people who dispense contraception to give great advice about what it can and can’t do: I suppose I have just had the benefit of some freakin excellent experiences at Family Planning where they have been super rigorous.

      And on your point of “they already are”; yeah, they are! And just because they get an implant and have sex as teenagers, doesn’t mean they are necessarily also putting themselves at risk for STIs, and so I think having an extra contraceptive option that could be the perfect fit for someone’s needs is a really good thing.

      • Amanda says:

        I’ve had a further thought, along the lines of how lucky you’ve been with Family Planning and/or helpful doctors (ditto, FP were awesome to me as a late teen). One of the things I’ve had to wrap my head around recently is the privilege and power of doctors, and how that impacts the treatment they give patients eg: mental health issues, weight, sexual health.

        Dismissing a woman’s sexual health needs is not an uncommon story I hear, when you have a doctor with a political slant to their services (eg: they’re opposed to abortion, or agency to their bodies). Perhaps instead of bashing the teenagers (as B points out down thread) we should be looking at the doctors….and this comes back round to my point of a good sex education.

        Perhaps there are doctors holding back information about contraceptives because of age, sex or race.

        • steph says:

          Yes, that is a definite possibility. When I first when on the pill the nurse was going over different methods and went “oh, there’s the IUD, but that’s for people in serious relationships..oh, not that I mean yours isn’t! I mean…” and got really embarrassed (even though I understood what she meant and why it wouldn’t be a method recommended to mye personally). That was a bit unrelated, but your point about selectively informaing is a very good one.

  2. Katherine says:

    Amanda makes a good point about trusting doctors/nurses to make it clear that various methods don’t prevent STIs.

    I’m gonna go get an implant once I actually get some spare time.

    • steph says:

      I was actually thinking that I would be too squicked out to get something put under my skin (and that would be the only thing stopping me considering an implant), but I’m way less squeamish about that stuff than I used to be, so maybe I should start thinking about it for myself!

      • Katherine says:

        I will totally be showing off the scar to people after I get it done 😉 The only thing I can’t cope with is watching nice medical staff inject me or cut into me. As long as I’m not watching, it’s fine. I keep having to tell the nurses (assuming they are nurses) at NZ Blood not to tell me what they’re doing, otherwise I go into shock and they don’t get any blood.

  3. Boganette says:

    I so want to get the impant. Wish it was free for me! But yep I’m with you and Amanda. We also don’t give kids enough credit. So often stories like these turn into teen-bashing rants.

    • steph says:

      Yeah, it’s funny because the people I knew who were having sex as teenagers were generally extremely responsible! I mean, most teenagers don’t actually want to get pregnant or get an STI (or at least people I knew didn’t!) and had good contraceptive advice available (like at Family Planning. Also, being able to go in during school lunch hour and grab a giant pile of condoms that were free/very cheap was handy!). So I think the teen bashing is pretty out of line.

  4. OwhiroLady says:

    Boganette, not sure why the implant wouldn’t be free for you? As long as you’re a NZ resident, the most you could pay for the implant at Family Planning would be $43. That includes the cost of the appointment (assuming you don’t have a CSC) and a $20 fee for disposables used during the implant insertion.

    • Boganette says:

      Oh really? Thanks Owhiro. I thought I’d be too old for it. I thought it was just for the teens. Has anyone had it? Does the implant hurt? I’m guessing it does but does it hurt heaps?

      • Tamsin says:

        I was talking to a FP nurse about the implant the other day and she said they use a local anaesthetic cream to numb the spot where the implant goes in, so it doesn’t hurt at the time but can feel a bit sore and bruised a few hours later. I am seriously considering the implant despite my fear of pain, needles, etc.

  5. Magpie says:

    It’s even more fun than showing off the scar. It’s so near the surface of the skin, that you can see it rise up if you push on one end (i mean like a seesaw). It’s also fun to freak people out like the one quoted above, and tell them it’s ID or tracking device. especially US tourists.
    Also, getting it put in is easy, a local anaesthetic, and a giant needle thing. Getting it out is harder, dr has to cut your skin and pull really hard, because your body grows a capsule around it.

  6. Magpie says:

    Boganette: you can’t feel it once it’s in, unless you press quite hard, like with a blood pressure cuff, or lean your arm over the back of the chair. Even then, I wouldn’t say it hurts.

    • Bel says:

      Hey Magpie – Dom Post want to talk to someone who’s had a positive experience w the Jadelle contraceptive implant Phone 027 206 6462 if you are keen

  7. […] discusses at LadyNews the current Jadelle (a contraceptive implant) furore in the media.  steph advocates choice and […]