NARAL Pro-Choice NYC, in conjunction with their sister organization, the National Institute for Reproductive Health, recently re-launched their 2010 Maybe the IUD campaign in New York City. This time, the New York City Department of Health is implementing the campaign, enabling them to reach a wider and more diverse audience. Through this fall, the fun, brightly-colored ads can be seen on subways and bus shelters in both English and Spanish. I just recently saw my first one on the G train and the neon-colored text against a black background sent my nostalgic heart for Lisa Frank soaring. Plus, there’s a hashtag: #MaybeTheIUD. You’re welcome, millennials.
Despite getting a bad rap in the 1970’s, and thanks to improvements in modern medicine, the IUD is making a comeback in a big way. Today, the IUD is one of the safest and most effective forms of long-term reversible birth control on the market. IUDs fall under the category of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) and can be either hormonal or nonhormonal, giving people of reproductive age options based on their preferences and medical needs. There is even an IUD specially designed for teens! Because the device is 99% effective, covered by most insurers and lasts up to several years, it is quickly gaining speed as a popular form of birth control, and is perhaps the best-suited option for those who know they don’t want to get pregnant any time soon.
Thanks to a work project, I recently had the pleasure of sitting in on an IUD insertion training with the Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP). After hearing lots of my peers express their hesitation about getting an IUD– “It stays up there?” “Does it hurt?” “Can I feel it?” “Can my partner feel it?”– I was pleased to find out that the insertion is very quick and seems relatively similar to any other vaginal exam or procedure: jelly, speculum, swab, insertion, done! Where’s my lollipop?
As the federal government continues its assault on women’s health access, it seems as though the New York City Department of Health is taking matters into its own hands. #MaybeTheIUD is aimed to be the first phase of a multi-year initiative to increase awareness, access, and utilization of sexual and reproductive health and related services. Everyone is encouraged to keep an eye out for the ads and, if you feel so included, snap a shot and post it with the hashtag to help spread the word about this effective, yet often overlooked, birth control option.