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NEW YORK Nearly 1 million acts of unprotected sex take place in the United States every night. This statistic was a major talking point at a breakfast symposium for journalists on Thursday sponsored by Teva Women’s Health, manufacturer of the Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive pill.
Those unprotected sex acts help contribute to the more than 3 million unintended pregnancies that affect U.S. women every year.
“Overall, it has been estimated that the widespread use of emergency contraception in the United States could prevent 1.7 million unintended pregnancies each year,” Columbia University Medical Center professor Anne Davis said in a statement on behalf of Teva.
Plan B One-Step (levonorgestrel) is a single pill available from behind the counter for girls and women ages 17 years and older, designed to be taken 72 hours after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. But the four panelists at the symposium agreed that part of the challenge to increasing usage of the pill in the event of an “oops moment” is making people aware of it and combatting misinformation around it.
Visibility and convenience can go a long way to promoting usage, panelist and University of Southern California pharmacy professor Kathleen Besinque said, mentioning what she called “the condom look” — the anxious look on young men’s faces that is a telltale sign they’re looking for condoms. Similarly, customers looking for emergency contraception may be embarrassed to talk about it openly and thus afraid to ask where the pills are or worried the store doesn’t carry them.
“I talk to pharmacists all the time, and I try to encourage them to put the product where it can be seen,” Besinque told Drug Store News, adding that one way of ensuring visibility could include shelf tags near the shelf where condoms are kept.