– Release date: 27 May 2002
The Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) has warned Irish fans travelling to the World Cup to bring contraception with them, as access to certain forms of family planning is severely restricted in Japan and South Korea.
According to the IFPA, "major sporting events, both at home and aborad, always give rise to an upsurge in demand for morning after pill. However, emergency contraception is not authorized in Japan and is only available in a limited number of outlets at a cost of 400-500 euro. Fans should therefore take precautions and include contraception in their luggage, event if they don't expect to be sexually active.
"In addition to very limited availability of emergency contraception, the contraceptive pill may still not be widely available in Japan. Condoms are the contraceptive method used by over 90% of the sexually active population. While condoms can be bought in drug stores and supermarkets, they can be expensive. It is therefore advisable to stock up before departure."
Family planning programmes are still being developed in South Korea, with the result that access to a range of contraception is very limited.
The IFPA also warned World Cup fans at home to practice safe-sex. "During Ireland's participation in the World Cup in 1994, demand for our services increased domestically. With matches kicking-off much earlier this time round, we expect that there will be even more partying and when people are off-guard they will make mistakes.
"Both in Ireland and in the Far East, there has been a significant increases in cases of Sexually Transmitted Infections, including HIV/AIDS. If people want to avoid such diseases, which can have severe health implications, they should avoid causal sex or practice safe sex by using a condom."
For those who experience contraceptive failure or who had unprotected sex, emergency contraception can be accessed from most GPs or family planning clinics. The IFPA operates an contraceptive information help-line (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm), tel: 1850 42 52 62.