High school girls who use the most effective methods of birth control are less likely to also use condoms, making them vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), researchers say.
Girls who use intrauterine devices and implants to prevent pregnancies are less likely to use condoms than their peers taking birth control pills, they found.
“The findings highlight a need for strategies to increase condom use among all users of highly and moderately effective contraceptive methods … to prevent STIs,” Riley Steiner of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta wrote in an email to Reuters Health.
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormone implants are highly effective at reducing unintended pregnancies, the researchers write in JAMA Pediatrics. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says such long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) should be first-line birth control options for teenagers.
Among 100 women on LARC, there will be about one unintended pregnancy per year, according to ACOG. That’s compared to six to nine unintended pregnancies among 100 women using the Depo-Provera shot, birth control pills, rings or patches.
For the new study, the researchers used data from a 2013 survey of U.S. high school students in grades nine through 12.
Of the 2,288 sexually active girls in the survey, about 2 percent used LARC, about 22 percent used birth control pills, about 41 percent used condoms, 12 percent used withdrawal or other methods, 16 percent used no contraceptive method and 6 percent used the shot, patch or ring. About 2 percent didn’t know which method they used.
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