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Women on hormonal contraceptives may forgo condoms

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Women on hormonal contraceptives may forgo condoms

A recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health reports that women who use hormonal birth control tend not to use condoms during intercourse, even though sexual activity may put them at an increased risk of contracting an STI, which can be detected with blood testing. The study, which lasted one year, looked at 1,194 sexually active females from 15 to 24 years old who received various hormonal contraceptives, such as, pills, patches, and injections from Planned Parenthood.

The results showed that of the 36 percent of the women who did use condoms before the study started, within three months of receiving birth control, only 27 percent of them opted to continue using condoms during sex. One of the authors of the research, Rachel Goldstein, M.D., noted that throughout the year, some women discontinued their hormonal contraception, and more than half of those women still did not use condoms after they stopped taking their hormonal contraception.

The main factor that determined whether a woman used condoms was her partner's preference. Goldstein reported that the women who had partners who thought condoms were "very important" were more likely to use them than women whose partners deemed them "not at all important."

"It appears that her partner's feelings may be more important than her perceived risk of a sexually transmitted infection or her own beliefs about dual method use," said Goldstein. "Although a woman feels like she is at risk for an STI, she may not be able to advocate for herself and successfully negotiate condom use with her partner."

Other forms of birth control, such as hormonal implants and IUDs, were not looked at in the study.


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