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13-02-2011 | Gynaecology | Article

Long-acting contraception methods needed in Southern Africa

Abstract

Free abstract

MedWire News: Long-acting methods of contraception should be made more readily available to women at risk for pregnancy in Sub-Saharan Africa, report researchers, who suggest the approach could significantly reduce unintended pregnancy rates.

Among a cohort of 4,905 women participating in an HIV-prevention trial for up to 2 years, long-acting contraception achieved the lowest rates of contraception failure compared with alternatives, including condoms.

"Increasing information about access to and policy support for long-acting methods with higher effectiveness is a critical public health priority across the world," say Kelly Blanchard (Ibis Reproductive Health, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA) and colleagues.

The most common form of contraception used at study enrollment was condoms (25.8 percent), followed by injectables (25.4 percent), and oral contraceptives (21.6 percent). Just 5.3 percent of women reported using long-acting contraceptive methods (intrauterine devices, implants, and sterilization).

Contraceptive failure was lowest among women using long-acting methods, at 0.5-1.1 pregnancies per 100 woman-years of follow-up, while pregnancy rates were highest for women who reported using no method and 'other' methods including withdrawal, at 58.1 and 41.7 pregnancies per 100 woman-years.

By comparison, male/female condom use, oral contraceptives, and injectables resulted in 14.7, 7.3, and 6.5 pregnancies per 100 woman-years, report Blanchard et al.

MedWire (www.medwire-news.md) is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Sarah Guy