“In general, young people in the Gooi are quite average,” says Daan Kuipers, sexual health and sexual violence nurse at GGD Gooi- en Vechtstreek. The age at which Gooise young people have sex for the first time, the number of STDs and how they assess their sex life would be related to National average. “I certainly see the image of young people, how that emerges from the research, during consultation hours.”
GGD Gooi- en Vechtstreek tries to visit young people by organizing consultation hours, where young people can not only be tested for STDs, but they can also ask questions. The GGD also supports schools on this theme.
The extent to which students are taught about sexual development varies enormously from school to school. “It is very dependent on an individual teacher, unfortunately.” Kuipers indicates that schools often have difficulty finding a place within the educational curriculum. Often it only comes up during biology lessons and all information is in the context of reproduction. “You don’t have to say ‘you have to use a condom’, they know that.”
According to Kuipers, it is all about stimulating young people. “They are often quite curious about how they apply the knowledge in practice, for example this morning I was asked ‘can you have sex during menstruation?’ Or they wonder exactly what happens with contraception and hormones.”
The hormones in contraception are a recurring theme among young girls and women, and Kuipers also sees this in his consultation hours with the young people. At the same time, there has also been a decline in condom use. “Initially it is a reaction to the hormones,” he explains, “These would be bad and they would not want to use that type of contraception for that reason. But some of the young women do not then think about an alternative. “.
The concept of hormonal contraception is a much-discussed topic among young people, mainly through social media such as TikTok. A distinction is made between contraception with and without synthetic hormones. According to them, the side effects of ‘the pill’ are enough reasons to stop taking it, sometimes under the leadership of influencers who make the same choice. Some choose other contraceptive methods, such as condoms or an IUD, but some do not look at an alternative form of contraception.
“Due to a decrease in pill use and a decrease in condom use, there is in theory a greater chance of pregnancy,” says Kuipers. Fewer and fewer girls are using hormonal contraception. However, there is an increase in the number of young women having an IUD installed, but this increase is too small to compensate for the decline in the use of other forms of contraception.
Due to this development, conversations with young people require a different approach; topics such as the desire to have children and fertility are now open to discussion. “It’s no longer about warning about STDs or pregnancy, you talk to them about what they actually want. That they still have to make a choice.” During his consultation hours, Kuipers comes into contact with young people who often do not want to become parents at all, but simply have not yet thought about alternatives.
But should we worry about the young? “If they are conscious choices, then you don’t have to worry. But when young people say that they are going to stop taking the pill and do not think about an alternative, then there is a chance of an unintended pregnancy. I always approach it from a ‘want to’ perspective. want to be in control and have carefree fun? Then you have to fix a number of things.”