(1/635) Women's interest in vaginal microbicides.

CONTEXT: Each year, an estimated 15 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV, occur in the United States. Women are not only at a disadvantage because of their biological and social susceptibility, but also because of the methods that are available for prevention. METHODS: A nationally representative sample of 1,000 women aged 18-44 in the continental United States who had had sex with a man in the last 12 months were interviewed by telephone. Analyses identified levels and predictors of women's worry about STDs and interest in vaginal microbicides, as well as their preferences regarding method characteristics. Numbers of potential U.S. microbicide users were estimated. RESULTS: An estimated 21.3 million U.S. women have some potential current interest in using a microbicidal product. Depending upon product specifications and cost, as many as 6.0 million women who are worried about getting an STD would be very interested in current use of a microbicide. These women are most likely to be unmarried and not cohabiting, of low income and less education, and black or Hispanic. They also are more likely to have visited a doctor for STD symptoms or to have reduced their sexual activity because of STDs, to have a partner who had had other partners in the past year, to have no steady partner or to have ever used condoms for STD prevention. CONCLUSIONS: A significant minority of women in the United States are worried about STDs and think they would use vaginal microbicides. The development, testing and marketing of such products should be expedited.  (+info)

(2/635) Pregnancies averted among U.S. teenagers by the use of contraceptives.

CONTEXT: The personal and social costs associated with teenage pregnancy in the United States concern many policymakers and researchers, yet the role of contraception in preventing these pregnancies has not been adequately quantified. METHODS: Published estimates of contraceptive effectiveness were applied to 1995 National Survey of Family Growth data on sexual and contraceptive practices in order to estimate the number of pregnancies averted through the use of contraceptives by U.S. teenagers. Four scenarios of contraceptives access--from current levels of access to highly restricted access--and teenagers' sexual and contraceptive practices in response to such restrictions are used to project the potential impact on pregnancies among teenagers. RESULTS: Current levels of contraceptive use averted an estimated 1.65 million pregnancies among 15-19-year-old women in the United States during 1995. If these young women had been denied access to both prescription and over-the-counter contraceptive methods, an estimated one million additional pregnancies (ranging from 750,000 to 1.25 million) would have occurred, assuming some decrease in sexual activity. These pregnancies would have led to 480,000 live births, 390,000 abortions, 120,000 miscarriages, 10,000 ectopic pregnancies and 37 maternal deaths. CONCLUSIONS: Contraceptive use by teenage women prevents pregnancies and negative pregnancy-related health consequences that can disrupt the lives of adolescent women and that have substantial societal costs. Continued and expanded access to contraceptives for adolescents is a critically important public health strategy.  (+info)

(3/635) Complications of unsafe abortion in sub-Saharan Africa: a review.

The Commonwealth Regional Health Community Secretariat undertook a study in 1994 to document the magnitude of abortion complications in Commonwealth member countries. The results of the literature review component of that study, and research gaps identified as a result of the review, are presented in this article. The literature review findings indicate a significant public health problem in the region, as measured by a high proportion of incomplete abortion patients among all hospital gynaecology admissions. The most common complications of unsafe abortion seen at health facilities were haemorrhage and sepsis. Studies on the use of manual vacuum aspiration for treating abortion complications found shorter lengths of hospital stay (and thus, lower resource costs) and a reduced need for a repeat evacuation. Very few articles focused exclusively on the cost of treating abortion complications, but authors agreed that it consumes a disproportionate amount of hospital resources. Studies on the role of men in supporting a woman's decision to abort or use contraception were similarly lacking. Articles on contraceptive behaviour and abortion reported that almost all patients suffering from abortion complications had not used an effective, or any, method of contraception prior to becoming pregnant, especially among the adolescent population; studies on post-abortion contraception are virtually nonexistent. Almost all articles on the legal aspect of abortion recommended law reform to reflect a public health, rather than a criminal, orientation. Research needs that were identified include: community-based epidemiological studies; operations research on decentralization of post-abortion care and integration of treatment with post-abortion family planning services; studies on system-wide resource use for treatment of incomplete abortion; qualitative research on the role of males in the decision to terminate pregnancy and use contraception; clinical studies on pain control medications and procedures; and case studies on the provision of safe abortion services where legally allowed.  (+info)

(4/635) Factors related to choosing oral contraception at age 15.

This report aims to identify factors which are related to use of oral contraceptives at an early age. A self-administered questionnaire was completed at schools in 1988 and 1992 in southern and western Finland (N = 1339). Sexually experienced girls (mean age 15.8 years) who had answered the question concerning their oral contraceptive use were included (N = 389). Logistic regression analysis was used to compare oral contraceptive users (N = 121) with the group of non-users. Total number of coital experiences was associated with oral contraceptive use: the odds ratio for those having at least 10 coital experiences was 6.30 compared with those with only one intercourse. The proportion was 73% among oral contraceptive users and 30% among non-users. Girls using oral contraceptives perceived more often (67%) that parents accept their sexual relationship (30% among non-users). Oral contraceptive users were less afraid of getting pregnant (9% compared with 31% among non-users) and felt more often that sex was very important in their life (31 and 13%, respectively). Other factors that entered the model were age at menarche, having a steady partner and frequency of disco visits. When a young girl asks for oral contraceptives, she is probably at true risk of pregnancy, and regular contraception should be considered both in view of effective prevention of pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.  (+info)

(5/635) Contraceptive failure rates: new estimates from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth.

CONTEXT: Unintended pregnancy remains a major public health concern in the United States. Information on pregnancy rates among contraceptive users is needed to guide medical professionals' recommendations and individuals' choices of contraceptive methods. METHODS: Data were taken from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) and the 1994-1995 Abortion Patient Survey (APS). Hazards models were used to estimate method-specific contraceptive failure rates during the first six months and during the first year of contraceptive use for all U.S. women. In addition, rates were corrected to take into account the underreporting of induced abortion in the NSFG. Corrected 12-month failure rates were also estimated for subgroups of women by age, union status, poverty level, race or ethnicity, and religion. RESULTS: When contraceptive methods are ranked by effectiveness over the first 12 months of use (corrected for abortion underreporting), the implant and injectables have the lowest failure rates (2-3%), followed by the pill (8%), the diaphragm and the cervical cap (12%), the male condom (14%), periodic abstinence (21%), withdrawal (24%) and spermicides (26%). In general, failure rates are highest among cohabiting and other unmarried women, among those with an annual family income below 200% of the federal poverty level, among black and Hispanic women, among adolescents and among women in their 20s. For example, adolescent women who are not married but are cohabiting experience a failure rate of about 31% in the first year of contraceptive use, while the 12-month failure rate among married women aged 30 and older is only 7%. Black women have a contraceptive failure rate of about 19%, and this rate does not vary by family income; in contrast, overall 12-month rates are lower among Hispanic women (15%) and white women (10%), but vary by income, with poorer women having substantially greater failure rates than more affluent women. CONCLUSIONS: Levels of contraceptive failure vary widely by method, as well as by personal and background characteristics. Income's strong influence on contraceptive failure suggests that access barriers and the general disadvantage associated with poverty seriously impede effective contraceptive practice in the United States.  (+info)

(6/635) Contraceptive failure, method-related discontinuation and resumption of use: results from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth.

CONTEXT: Half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. Of these, half occur to women who were practicing contraception in the month they conceived, and others occur when couples stop use because they find their method difficult or inconvenient to use. METHODS: Data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth were used to compute life-table probabilities of contraceptive failure for reversible methods of contraception, discontinuation of use for a method-related reason and resumption of contraceptive use. RESULTS: Within one year of starting to use a reversible method of contraception, 9% of women experience a contraceptive failure--7% of those using the pill, 9% of those relying on the male condom and 19% of those practicing withdrawal. During a lifetime of use of reversible methods, the typical woman will experience 1.8 contraceptive failures. Overall, 31% of women discontinue use of a reversible contraceptive for a method-related reason within six months of starting use, and 44% do so within 12 months; however, 68% resume use of a method within one month and 76% do so within three months. Multivariate analyses show that the risk of contraceptive failure is elevated among low-income women and Hispanic women. Low-income women are also less likely than other women to resume contraceptive use after discontinuation. CONCLUSIONS: The risks of pregnancy during typical use of reversible methods of contraception are considerably higher than risks of failure during clinical trials, reflecting imperfect use of these methods rather than lack of inherent efficacy. High rates of method-related discontinuation probably reflect dissatisfaction with available methods.  (+info)

(7/635) Measuring contraceptive use patterns among teenage and adult women.

CONTEXT: Measures of contraceptive use at one point in time do not account for its changing nature. A measure that addresses the pattern of method use over time may better predict the cumulative risk of unintended pregnancy. METHODS: Women at risk of unintended pregnancy were selected from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth, and their contraceptive use patterns were compared across age-groups. Survival analysis was used to validate women's long-term use pattern as an indicator of pregnancy risk, and multivariate regression analyses were used to explore potential covariates of current patterns of contraceptive use. RESULTS: More than two-thirds of women aged 15-19 report long-term uninterrupted contraceptive use, but they are more likely to report sporadic use and less likely to report uninterrupted use of a very effective method than are women aged 25-34. Compared with women aged 25-34, women aged 20-24 have higher rates of sporadic use and lower rates of effective uninterrupted use. Among teenagers, nonusers are 12 times as likely as uninterrupted effective users to experience an unintended pregnancy within 12 months at risk. Women in less stable relationships, those having more infrequent intercourse and women who have recently experienced nonvoluntary intercourse for the first time are more likely than others to have a high-risk contraceptive pattern. Women aged 17 and younger whose current partner is more than three years older are significantly less likely to practice contraception than are their peers whose partner is closer in age. CONCLUSIONS: Long-term contraceptive use pattern is a valid predictor of unintended pregnancy risk. Policies aimed at reducing unintended pregnancies should target women who do not practice contraception and those who are sporadic users. Women in unstable relationships, those having infrequent sex and women who experience sexual coercion need access to methods, such as emergency contraception, that can be used sporadically or after unprotected intercourse.  (+info)

(8/635) Evaluation of the efficacy of a polyurethane condom: results from a randomized, controlled clinical trial.

CONTEXT: Condoms made of latex are not comfortable or appropriate for all consumers. Polyurethane condoms may provide a needed alternative. METHODS: In a double-masked study, 805 monogamous couples were randomized to use either the polyurethane condom or the latex condom for six months. Couples recorded the frequency of intercourse, of condom use and of breakage and slippage throughout the trial in coital diaries and in detailed reports on the first five uses. Breakage and slippage rates were determined, and typical-use and consistent-use pregnancy rates were calculated using life-table analysis, adjusted for use of emergency contraception. RESULTS: The six-month pregnancy rate during typical use (adjusted for use of emergency contraception) was 4.8% for the polyurethane condom and 6.3% for the latex condom. Similarly adjusted pregnancy rates during consistent use over six completed menstrual cycles--2.4% for the polyurethane condom and 1.1% for the latex condom--did not differ significantly. Clinical failure rates (including breakage and slippage occurring during either intercourse or withdrawal) were 8.5% for the polyurethane condom and 1.6% for the latex condom. In general, male participants were more satisfied with the latex condom, and users of latex were significantly less likely to drop out of the study for condom-related reasons than were users of polyurethane. CONCLUSIONS: Although polyurethane and latex condoms provide equivalent levels of contraceptive protection, the polyurethane condom's higher frequency of breakage and slippage suggests that this condom may confer less protection from sexually transmitted infections than does the latex condom.  (+info)