Three quarters of KU students admit to having unprotected sex in a recent survey by The River

Abortion a day for Kingston Students

Article written by Hannah Gale and Katie Holmes

Three quarters of KU students admit to having unprotected sex in a recent survey by The River, causing almost one abortion every day to be referred from the University’s Health Centre.

Sixty two per cent of students also confess to having had a one night stand, despite practically half of them not knowing where to get emergency contraception or an STI test from.

Doctor Matrook from the Fairhill Medical Practice at Penrhyn Road campus said: “I’ve met too many people who don’t remember the night before because of alcohol, including who they’ve slept with.

“Students are often filled with regret after unprotected sex and come in daily asking for sex advice, tests and to discuss unplanned pregnancies. We see girls seeking terminations nearly every day.

“People often don’t realise the long term effects from these situations, such as problems with fertility, or in the case of abortions; pelvic infections and severe psychological issues.”

However, despite one night stands being so common, 81 per cent of KU students admitted to wanting a relationship rather than a casual sex partner.

Two hundred and fifty students have been questioned for the survey, which was conducted face-to-face at Penrhyn Road, Knights Park and Kingston Hill earlier this month, as well as online on Survey Monkey.

The Pharmacy on Surbiton Road, revealed that at peak times such as Fresher’s week, they receive up to 10 requests a day from students wanting the morning after pill.

Chemist Charlotte Hall says: “A lot of girls come in and say that the condom broke during intercourse. They should treat the use of condoms as second nature, as a habit, and not have casual sex without it.”

“It can take up to two months for the body to settle down after taking the morning after pill and it’s definitely not the most reliable form of contraception. I’d urge students to just use a condom or go on the pill in order to avoid needing to take it.”

Alcohol is listed as a prime cause in the high levels of unprotected sex by both medical professionals.

Dr Matrook said: “It is a massive risk factor as people lose control when under the influence. I’d recommend that when students go out drinking, they stick in friendship groups so that they can look out for each other.”

A survey carried out by YouthNet in 2009, found that a third of 16-24 year olds regretted having a one-night-stand because they were drunk.

“After a couple of drinks even people who are clued-up about safe sex can forget, or not bother, to insist on using one. Studies show that you’re three times more likely to have sex without a condom if you’ve been drinking” advised Drink Aware, a charity who promotes moderate drinking.

“Alcohol messes with your motor skills, which means that you or your partner might rip the condom or apply incorrectly so it won’t offer the same level of protection.”

Dr Matrook recommends using a more permanent form of contraception, such as the coil (IUD), implant, injections (LARC) or contraceptive pills to prevent pregnancy, although these do not protect from STIs.

Chlamydia and genital warts are the most common sexually transmitted diseases amongst young people, with a report from the Health Protection Agency stating that more than a third of new STI cases reported in 2008 were from those aged 16-24.

Chris Dingle, Vice President of the Student Union admits: “It is concerning to see such figures from KU students, although not surprising. Students should always make themselves aware of the services the university and health centre have to offer.”

Fairhill Medical Practice run drop in sexual health sessions every Monday afternoon, which are free, confidential, friendly and non-judgemental. Call 020 8417 2204 for more information.

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One comment

  1. Therese Walker - Kingston LIFE

    I read with interest your article on one abortion a day for KU students.  I am sure the pastoral care services already in existance in the university are doing an excellent job.  There is room for a heightening of awareness of other ways than abortion and the morning after pill.  The charity LIFE supports women and men facing a crisis pregnancy, and its aims can be summed up as follows:

    “We are not a religious organisation.  Some of the people who offer help attend church and some have no particular beliefs at all.  We are not here to offer advice.

    We offer support to women and men who are either in the process of a crisis pregnancy and wish to have a safe place to discuss their options or who have suffered pregnancy loss, whatever the cause.

    If someone who seeks our help makes their own decision to continue with a pregnancy we will help them access the help which they may need to do so whether they decide to keep their child or go for adoption.

    If, having had the opportunity to weigh all the pros and cons they wish to pursue an abortion we will be there for them after the procedure should they need a listening ear or counselling (from a diploma counsellor).

    We are in no way condemnatory.  Everyone has their own story and beliefs and should be able to access care and support when they most need it.”





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