Limited sexual-health services could lead to unplanned pregnancies: advocates

OTTAWA — Sexual-health advocates say limited access to services and contraceptives because of COVID-19 is likely to lead to a surge in unintended pregnancies.

Darrah Teitel with Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights has already noticed a big increase in the number of people calling its help line in distress.

Some pharmacies have noted condoms are in shorter supply, as factories in Malaysia shut down over concerns about the virus.

Many pharmacies have also had to ration medications, including birth control, to one-month supplies to avoid shortages.

Abortion and sexual-health clinics are allowed to stay open as essential services but Teitel says many are struggling to stay staffed.

She says all those factors together could lead to dire consequences in a few months when it comes to unplanned pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases — especially among more vulnerable groups.