London, Oct 21 (ANI): A new survey has revealed that condom is fast becoming more popular than the pill among women, and is now their most preferred method of contraception.
In a survey conducted on 1,093 women, a quarter, who are under 50, opted for condoms, which is identical to the proportion who plumped for the oral contraceptive pill.
The Office for National Statistics figures have been seen as good news by experts as condoms do the dual work of preventing sexually transmitted infections as well as pregnancy.
Almost half of the condom users cited STIs as their motive for using them, while half of the 2,557 people surveyed in England, Scotland and Wales said TV programmes and adverts had been their main source of information about STIs.
However, more than half the men interviewed who said they were not in a long-term exclusive relationship, but had had a sexual relationship in the last year, said information on HIV and other sexually transmitted infections had no effect on their behaviour.
The majority of women under 50 (75 percent) were using contraception, with younger women preferring the pill or male condom, and older women often relying on sterilisation or their partner's vasectomy.
Almost all of the women surveyed said they had heard of the emergency contraception pill, or "morning after pill".
But awareness of the emergency intrauterine device (IUD), which can be inserted up to five days after intercourse, had fallen from 49 percent eight years ago to 40 percent.
"It is encouraging to see that access to information about contraception and contraceptive services is improving," the BBC quoted Natika Halil of the Family Planning Association as saying.
"Whilst women are using very safe and reliable methods of contraception such as the condom and the pill, there are 15 methods of contraception available.
"Women should be able to access all of them in equal measure," Halil said.
Victoria Sheard of the Terrence Higgins Trust said using a condom can help prevent STIs from spreading.
"An increase in condom use is very good news as they offer double protection - against sexually transmitted infections as well as unwanted pregnancy," Sheard said.
"People should be aware of the rising rates of STIs when making a decision about contraception - ditching the condoms could leave you and potentially your partner at risk," she added.
Meanwhile, the NHS Information Centre has found the number of people using NHS community contraception clinics rose by 7 percent to 1.3 million in the year to March 2009. (ANI)