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With pills, patches, rings, and shots: who still uses condoms? A longitudinal cohort study

PURPOSE: To describe women’s condom use patterns over time and assess predictors of dual method use 12 months after initiating hormonal contraceptives. METHODS: We conducted a prospective cohort study among women aged 15-24 years initiating oral contraceptive pills, patch, ring, or depot medroxyprogesterone and attending public family planning clinics. Participants completed questionnaires at baseline and 3, 6, and 12 months after enrollment. We used multivariable logistic regression to assess baseline factors associated with dual method use at 12 months among 1,194 women who were sexually active in the past 30 days. RESULTS: At baseline, 36% were condom users, and only 5% were dual method users. After initiation of a hormonal method, condom use decreased to 27% and remained relatively unchanged thereafter. Dual method use increased to a peak of 20% at 3 months but decreased over time. Women who were condom users at baseline had nearly twice the odds of being a dual method user at 12 months compared with nonusers (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.01, 95% CI: 1.28-3.14). Women who believed their main partner thought condoms were ‘very important,’ regardless of perceived sexually transmitted infection risk or participant’s own views of condoms, had higher odds of dual method use (AOR = 2.89, 95% CI: 1.47-5.71). CONCLUSIONS: These results highlight a potential missed opportunity for family planning providers. Providers focus on helping women initiate hormonal methods, however, they may improve outcomes by giving greater attention to method continuation and contingency planning in the event of method discontinuation and to the role of the partner in family planning.

Authors: Goldstein RL; Upadhyay UD; Raine TR

J Adolesc Health. 2013 Jan;52(1):77-82. Epub 2012 Oct 8.

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