Wednesday, January 7, 2004
LONGER DELAYS OF FIRST SEX LINKED TO CONTRACEPTIVE USE
The November/December 2003 issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, a peer-reviewed journal of The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), features several new studies examining sexual and reproductive health issues:
THE LONGER TEENAGERS DELAY SEX IN THEIR FIRST RELATIONSHIP, THE MORE LIKELY THEY ARE TO USE CONTRACEPTIVES
U.S. teenagers have a high rate of unintended pregnancy, in part because many do not use contraceptives or use them inconsistently. However, according to by Jennifer Manlove et al. of Child Trends, nationally representative, longitudinal data from the first two waves of the Add Health survey show that the longer teenagers delay sexual intercourse in their first relationship, the more likely they are to use contraceptives consistently throughout that relationship.
PARTNER INVOLVEMENT MAY HELP WOMEN STAY ON THE PILL
by Jennifer Kerns of the University of California, San Francisco, et al., examines the reasons why some Hispanic women stop using the pill. A study of 213 predominantly Hispanic women who requested the pill at an urban family planning clinic in 2000 found that those who reported that their partner was unaware of their planned pill use were more likely to discontinue using the pill than were women whose partner knew about their intention. However, a woman's decision to tell her partner may depend on her perception of his supportiveness. For women who consider their partner unsupportive or fear adverse consequences, informing their partner of their intention to use this method may not be the best option.
STUDENTS IN THE SOUTH AND MIDWEST LESS LIKELY TO RECEIVE ACCURATE INFORMATION ABOUT CONTRACEPTIVE USE
Although sex education is taught in 93% of public secondary schools in the United States, the content of those classes varies widely by region, according to by David Landry et al. of AGI. A 1999 nationally representative survey of public school teachers found that 72% of instructors in the Northeast emphasized the effectiveness of contraceptive methods, compared with only 55% in the South and Midwest. In addition, the South had the highest proportion of instructors teaching abstinence only. These findings indicate that many students, especially those in the South and Midwest, are receiving inaccurate information, or no information at all, about effective contraceptive use.
Also in this issue of Perspectives: In an opinion piece, S. Marie Harvey of the University of Oregon et al. discuss the diaphragm's potential to reduce transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Although the diaphragm is one of the oldest contraceptive methods currently available, it is no longer frequently prescribed, and it has not been researched as an STD prevention method. Noting that the method would offer women a female-controlled option, at least until a microbicide becomes available, the authors recommend further study into both the diaphragm's acceptability and its protective effects against STDs.