To provide protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy, condoms must be used consistently and correctly. However, a significant proportion of couples in the United States fail to do so. Our objective was to determine the demographic and behavioral correlates of inconsistent and incorrect condom use among sexually active, condom-using women.
Analysis of baseline data from a prospective cohort of sexually active, condom-using women in the Contraceptive CHOICE Project (n = 2,087) using self-reported demographic and behavioral characteristics. Poisson regression was used to determine the relative risk of inconsistent and incorrect condom use after adjusting for variables significant in the univariate analysis.
Inconsistent and incorrect condom use was reported by 41% (n = 847) and 36% (n = 757) of women, respectively. A greater number of unprotected acts was most strongly associated with reporting 10 or more sex acts in the past 30 days, younger age at first intercourse, less perceived partner willingness to use condoms, and lower condom use self-efficacy. Incorrect condom use was associated with reporting 10 or more sex acts in the past 30 days, greater perceived risk for future STIs, and inconsistent condom use.
Inconsistent and incorrect condom use is common among sexually active women. Targeted educational efforts and prevention strategies should be implemented among women at highest risk for STIs and unintended pregnancies to increase consistent and correct condom use.
Condom use; contraception; women; self-efficacy; sexual behavior
To introduce and promote the use of long-acting reversible methods of contraception (LARC; intrauterine contraceptives and subdermal implant) by removing financial and knowledge barriers.
The Contraceptive CHOICE Project is a prospective cohort study of 10,000 women 14-45 years who want to avoid pregnancy for at least one year and are initiating a new form of reversible contraception. Women screened for this study are read a script regarding LARC to increase awareness of these options. Participants choose their contraceptive method that is provided at no cost. We report the contraceptive choice and baseline characteristics of the first 2,500 women enrolled August 2007 through December 2008.
Sixty-seven percent of women enrolled (95% confidence interval: 65.3, 69.0) chose long-acting methods. Fifty-six percent selected intrauterine contraception and 11% selected the subdermal implant.
Once financial barriers were removed and LARC methods were introduced to all potential participants as a first-line contraceptive option, two-thirds chose LARC.
long-acting reversible contraception; family planning
Users of the intrauterine device(IUD) may be at increased risk for bacterial vaginosis (BV). Our objective was to compare the incidence of BV in women using the IUD compared to women using combined oral contraceptives (COC), the contraceptive vaginal ring, and the contraceptive patch.
We prospectively recruited women negative for BV at baseline. Monthly, for six months, participants returned a self-obtained vaginal smear for Gram stain by mail. BV was diagnosed by a Nugent score ≥7. We performed Cox proportional hazards regression to investigate associations between demographic and behavioral characteristics, contraceptive method, and incident BV.
We enrolled 153 women negative for BV at baseline; 90(59%) women who chose the IUD and 63 (41%) who chose COC, ring, or patch. There were 35 women with BV at one or more time points. The incidence of BV was 37.0% among IUD users and 19.3% in COC, ring, and patch users (p=0.03). In the univariate analysis, race, IUD use, intermediate flora, and irregular vaginal bleeding were significantly associated with BV. In the adjusted model, IUD users were no more likely to acquire BV (HRadj 1.28, 95%CI 0.53–3.06)than COC, ring, and patch users. The associations between intermediate flora and irregular bleeding and BV remained significant (HRadj 3.3095% CI 1.51–7.21, and HRadj 2.54, 95% CI 1.03–6.24 respectively).
The association between IUD use and BV may be mediated by irregular vaginal bleeding. Intermediate flora is associated with an increased incidence of BV.
Bacterial vaginosis; Intrauterine device; Hormonal contraception; Irregular bleeding
Women undergoing induced abortion may be more motivated to choose long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), including the intrauterine device (IUD) and implant, than women without a history of abortion. Our objective was to determine whether the contraceptive method chosen is influenced by a recent history of induced abortion and access to immediate postabortion contraception.
This was a sub-analysis of the Contraceptive CHOICE Project. We compared contraception chosen by women with a recent history of abortion to women without a recent history. Participants with a recent history of abortion were divided into immediate postabortion contraception and delayed-start contraception groups.
Data were available for 5083 women; 3410 women without a recent abortion history, 937 women who received immediate postabortion contraception, and 736 women who received delayed-start postabortion contraception. Women offered immediate postabortion contraception were more than 3 times as likely to choose an IUD (RRadj 3.30, 95%CI 2.67–4.85) and 50% more likely to choose the implant (RRadj 1.51, 95%CI 1.12–2.03) compared to women without a recent abortion. There was no difference in contraceptive method selected among women offered delayed-start postabortion contraception compared to women without a recent abortion.
Women offered immediate postabortion contraception are more likely to choose the IUD and implant than women without a recent abortion history. Increasing access to immediate postabortion LARC is essential to preventing repeat unintended pregnancies.
To evaluate whether oral naproxen or transdermal estradiol decreases bleeding and spotting in women initiating the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS).
We conducted a randomized controlled trial of naproxen, estradiol, or placebo administered over the first 12 weeks of LNG-IUS use. Participants completed a written bleeding diary. We imputed missing values and performed an intention-to-treat analysis.
There were 129 women randomized to naproxen (n=42), estradiol (n=44), or placebo (n=43). The naproxen group was more likely to be in the lowest quartile of bleeding and spotting days compared to placebo, 42.9% versus 16.3% (p=0.03). In the multivariable analysis, the naproxen group had a 10% reduction in bleeding and spotting days (RRadj 0.90, 95%CI 0.84–0.97) compared to placebo. More frequent bleeding and spotting was observed in the estradiol group (RRadj 1.25, 95%CI 1.17–1.34).
Administration of naproxen resulted in a reduction in bleeding and spotting days compared to placebo. (150 words)
Contraception; Treatment for irregular bleeding with hormonal contraception; Levonorgestrel intrauterine system; Progestin-only contraception
The study was conducted to determine whether perceived racial, economic, and gender discrimination has an impact on contraception use and choice of method.
We analyzed the first 2,500 women, aged 14–45 years enrolled in the Contraceptive CHOICE Project, a prospective cohort study aimed to reduce barriers to long-acting reversible contraception. Items from the “Experiences of Discrimination” (EOD) scale measured experienced race-, gender-, and economic-based discrimination.
Overall, 57% of women reported a history of discrimination. Thirty-three percent reported gender- or race-based discrimination and 24% reported discrimination attributed to socioeconomic status (SES). Prior to study enrollment, women reporting discrimination were more likely to report any contraception use (61% vs. 51%, p<0.001), but were more likely to use less effective methods (e.g., barrier methods, natural family planning or withdrawal; 41% vs. 32%, p<0.001). In adjusted analyses, gender-, race- or SES-based discrimination were associated with increased current use of less effective methods (adjusted risk ratio (aRR) 1.22, CI 1.06–1.41; aRR 1.25, CI 1.08–1.45; aRR 1.23, CI 1.06–1.43, respectively). After enrollment, 67% of women with history of experience of discrimination chose a long-acting reversible contraceptive method (intrauterine device or implantable) and 33% chose a depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate or contraceptive pill, patch or ring.
Discrimination negatively impacts a woman’s use of contraception. However, after financial and structural barriers to contraceptive use were eliminated, women with EOD overwhelmingly selected effective methods of contraception. Future interventions to improve access and utilization of contraception should focus on eliminating barriers and targeting interventions that encompass race-, gender-, and economic-based discrimination.
Discrimination; contraception; race; socioeconomic status; gender
We compared contraceptive prevalence reported in the Contraceptive CHOICE Project (CHOICE) at time of enrollment, with estimates from representative surveys, the 2006–2008 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) and 2006 Missouri Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).
We calculated survey weights for CHOICE participants and compared selected demographic characteristics and prevalence estimates of current contraceptive methods being used at the time of enrollment.
Compared to the NSFG, CHOICE participants at time of enrollment were less likely to be pill users (16.1% vs. 24.0%) and more likely to use condoms (23.8% vs. 13.8%). Compared to the BRFSS, CHOICE participants were more likely to use condoms (20.4% vs. 12.9%) and withdrawal (6.6% vs. 0.4%).
Despite differences in sampling strategies between CHOICE and state and national surveys, the contraceptive prevalence estimates were largely similar. This information combined with the high rates of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) use after enrollment by CHOICE particiants that have been previously reported by study participants, may imply that cost and restricted access to LARC could be essential factors in the low rates of LARC use in the US.
Contraception; Epidemiology; Intrauterine device; Population data
We examined prescription adherence rates by contraceptive method among women who used oral contraceptive pills (OCP), transdermal patch, or vaginal ring.
Women in the St. Louis area were provided their choice of OCP, patch, or ring at no cost and followed for 18 months. Time between monthly refills was obtained from pharmacy data and analyzed as a marker of adherence. Risk factors for initial nonadherence were estimated using Cox proportional hazards; predictors for repeated nonadherence were analyzed using Poisson regression with robust error variance.
Overall, 619 participants filled 6,435 contraceptive prescriptions with a median of 10 refills per participant. Only 30% of women (n=187) obtained all refills on time. In the time-to-failure analysis, use of vaginal ring and increased parity were predictors of early nonadherence (p<0.05). In the multivariable analysis, use of the vaginal ring and history of abortion were risk factors for repeated nonadherence (p<0.01).
Even with financial barriers removed, pharmacy data show that many women inconsistently refill their contraception and may be at risk for unintended pregnancy.
prescription adherence; vaginal ring; pharmacy claims data; unintended pregnancy
Purpose of review
To assess the evidence to support home versus clinic-based screening for sexually transmitted infections.
Home-based screening for sexually transmitted infections has been shown to be a feasible approach for men and women from a variety of settings, including high risk, low income, and resource-poor communities. In recent studies, the testing rate with home-based screening was up to 11 times greater than the testing rate with clinic-based screening. For most individuals, self-collection and testing of urine or vaginal specimens at home was considered to be easy, acceptable, and often preferred over testing at a clinic. There is limited evidence with regard to the cost-effectiveness of home-versus clinic-based screening for sexually transmitted infections. However, a study from the U.S. concluded that home-based screening is cost saving.
Improvements in screening rates for sexually transmitted infections can be achieved with home-based screening methods. Making low-cost home test kits available may encourage at-risk young individuals with less access to clinic care, who may not otherwise be screened, to self-test for sexually transmitted infections.
Sexually transmitted infections; screening; home testing; home-obtained specimen; postal specimen
To survey knowledge and attitudes about intrauterine contraception (IUC) among reproductive-aged women in the Saint Louis, Missouri, area.
We mailed an eight-page written survey to 12,500 randomly selected households in the St. Louis area, asking English-literate, reproductive-aged, adult women to respond. The survey asked about obstetric and contraceptive history, effectiveness of contraceptive methods, and appropriate candidates for, side effects of, and perceived risks of IUC. The results from 1,665 (13.3%) returned surveys were weighted for the analysis, which included descriptive statistics and polynomial logistic regression.
Almost 8% of respondents were currently using or had previously used IUC and use was higher in women who reported discussing the method with their health care provider (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 13.4, 95% CI 6.5–27.8). Sixty-one percent of respondents underestimated the effectiveness of IUC and up to one-half of survey respondents were unable to correctly answer knowledge questions about IUC use and safety. An additional 11–36% of respondents indicated concern that IUC is associated with complications such as infection, infertility, and cancer. Current and past IUC users were more likely to be knowledgeable about IUC. Women who were currently using IUC were more likely to correctly estimate the effectiveness of IUC (adjusted OR 7.6, 95% CI 3.2–18.0).
Reproductive-aged women’s specific knowledge of the benefits and risks of IUC is limited. More educational interventions are needed to increase women’s knowledge about the effectiveness and benefits of IUC.
Unintended pregnancy disproportionately affects younger, minority, and low-income women. The purpose of this analysis is to describe our recruitment strategies and to determine if targeted efforts to reach women at greatest risk for unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection (STI) were successful.
The Contraceptive CHOICE Project is a prospective cohort study providing reversible contraception at no cost to 10,000 women aged 14–45 years in the St. Louis area in order to evaluate method satisfaction and continuation and to reduce unintended pregnancies in the region. We describe four strategies for effective outreach and recruitment of high-risk women, including forming strong community partnerships. We analyze the evolution of baseline demographic and behavioral characteristics over the three waves of enrollment of the first 2,500 participants in order to assess whether our outreach efforts were successful.
Overall, >60% of participants were aged ≤25 years. There was a significant increase in the percentage of minority participants enrolled throughout the first 2,500 subjects (p < 0.001). The number of women who reported trouble paying for basic necessities significantly increased over the three waves (p = 0.025). Throughout the three waves of enrollment, there was a significant increase in the number of women who tested positive for an STI at baseline (p < 0.001).
A multiple method approach with collaboration of key community partners led to successful recruitment of hard to reach populations at high risk for unintended pregnancy and STI.
To determine whether home-based screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) results in a higher STI screening rate compared to clinic-based screening in participants using long-acting reversible contraception.
We performed a randomized clinical trial of women using long-acting reversible contraception methods in the Contraceptive CHOICE Project (n = 558). Participants were randomly assigned to home-based testing (swabs mailed to the participant's home or clinic-based testing. Self-collected vaginal swabs were tested for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae using strand displacement analysis. We estimated the relative risk of screening by group using Poisson regression with robust error variance.
The randomization groups were similar at baseline, except for marital status; the clinic group had more never-married women (62.0% vs. 51.6%), and the home group had more divorced women (12.1% vs. 5.6%, p = 0.007). Women in the home group were more likely to self-report screening compared to women in the clinic group in the multivariable analysis (56.3% vs. 32.9%, RR 1.7, 95% CI 1.4 – 2.0). When analyzed by tests received or documented in medical records, similar results were obtained (56.3% vs. 25.0%, RR 2.2, 95% CI 1.7 – 2.7). Women who completed screening had higher levels of education and were more likely to receive public assistance compared to those who did not complete screening.
Long-acting reversible contraception users randomized to STI screening at home were more likely to complete screening than those randomized to traditional clinic-based screening. Home-based screening may be useful in women using LARC methods who may not present for regular screening.
We sought to better understand reasons for not obtaining desired contraception among women presenting for a pregnancy termination.
A survey was completed by women prior to having an abortion procedure. Reasons for lack of access were categorized as institutional, individual and compliance issues. Descriptive statistics were calculated and variables compared using chi-square tests.
Participants (n=298) ranged in age from 18–48 years. One third reported contraceptive use prior to pregnancy (37%). Approximately 72% of women reported some reason for not obtaining desired contraception, while 34% reported 2 or more. The distribution of reported individual, institutional, and compliance reasons were 44%, 28%, and 24%, respectively. Report of at least one reason was associated with a 35% increase in non-use (RR=1.35, 95% CI 1.02–1.80) after adjusting for age, race, education, parity and prior abortion.
Many reasons for not obtaining desired contraception exist and are associated with non-use of contraception. Removing these reasons may help reduce unintended pregnancies and rates of pregnancy termination.
contraception; pregnancy termination; health disparities; race; women’s health; gynecology
To estimate completion rate and acceptability of home screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) compared to clinic-based screening in a prospective cohort study.
The first 462 women enrolled in the Contraceptive CHOICE Project were screened at 12 months of follow-up for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae using strand displacement analysis of self-collected vaginal swabs. In a telephone interview, participants were given a choice of no-cost screening with swabs mailed to the participant’s home (home-based) or screening that was available at area family planning clinics without an appointment (clinic-based). The clinic-based group also included women who elected to screen with their regular provider according to the clinician’s normal practice. We analyzed the rates of screening, including patient preference and the proportion of completed tests by testing method.
Women were more likely to choose to screen for STIs at home than at a clinic or with their own medical provider (75.7% versus 16.1% versus 8.2%, p < 0.001). Women choosing clinic testing were more likely to be black than those choosing home testing. Black women comprised 42% of the clinic group compared to 28% of the home group (RR 1.63, 95% CI 1.14–2.31). The groups did not differ in other demographic characteristics, STI risk factors, or access to healthcare. Overall, 228 women (56.6%) completed screening. Women who chose home-based testing were more likely to complete a test compared to all clinic-based testers (64.6% versus 31.6%, RR 2.04, 95% CI 1.51–2.76).
Women overwhelmingly preferred to screen for STIs at home. Future interventions to increase screening rates in young women should consider alternative screening strategies such as home-based or patient-controlled testing.
Many obstacles to intrauterine contraception use exist, including provider and patient misinformation, high upfront cost, and clinician practice patterns. The aim of our study was to investigate knowledge and attitudes about intrauterine contraception among obstetricians and gynecologists in the area of Saint Louis.
We mailed a self-administered, anonymous survey to 250 clinicians who provide obstetric and gynecologic care in Saint Louis City and County which included questions about demographics, training, family planning visits, and intrauterine contraceptive knowledge and use.
The overall survey response rate among eligible clinicians was 73.7%. Clinicians who had recently finished training or saw higher numbers of contraceptive patients per week were more likely to insert intrauterine contraception than clinicians who completed training prior to 1989 or saw fewer contraceptive patients. Several misconceptions among clinicians were identified, including an association between intrauterine contraceptives and an elevated risk of pelvic inflammatory disease.
Physician misconceptions about the risks of intrauterine contraception continue to occur. Improved clinician education is greatly needed to facilitate the use of these highly effective, long-acting, reversible methods of contraception.
Intrauterine contraception; intrauterine device; clinician knowledge; obstacles; survey
We investigated whether there were racial/ethnic differences among young men who have sex with men (MSM) in their use of, perceived importance of, receipt of, and satisfaction with HIV prevention services received at health care providers (HCP) and HIV test providers (HTP) that explain racial disparities in HIV prevalence. Young men, aged 23 to 29 years, were interviewed and tested for HIV at randomly sampled MSM-identified venues in six U.S. cities from 1998 through 2000. Analyses were restricted to five U.S. cities that enrolled 50 or more black or Hispanic MSM. Among the 2,424 MSM enrolled, 1,522 (63%) reported using a HCP, and 1,268 (52%) reported having had an HIV test in the year prior to our interview. No racial/ethnic differences were found in using a HCP or testing for HIV. Compared with white MSM, black and Hispanic MSM were more likely to believe that HIV prevention services are important [respectively, AOR, 95% confidence interval (CI): 3.0, 1.97 to 4.51 and AOR, 95% CI: 2.7, 1.89 to 3.79], and were more likely to receive prevention services at their HCP (AOR, 95% CI: 2.5, 1.72 to 3.71 and AOR, 95% CI: 1.7, 1.18 to 2.41) and as likely to receive counseling services at their HTP. Blacks were more likely to be satisfied with the prevention services received at their HCP (AOR, 95% CI: 1.7, 1.14 to 2.65). Compared to white MSM, black and Hispanic MSM had equal or greater use of, perceived importance of, receipt of, and satisfaction with HIV prevention services. Differential experience with HIV prevention services does not explain the higher HIV prevalence among black and Hispanic MSM.
HIV prevention services; Racial/ethnic disparities; Young MSM