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Young People Inconsistent in Contraceptive Use

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The Guttmacher Institute has published a report in the International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health that shows that women ages 15 to 19 are more likely than 20-49 year olds to use contraceptives inconsistently. In addition, they are also more likely to experience a higher rate of contraceptive failure.

The study looked at young sexually active women from over 40 countries, evaluating their rates of contraceptive adoption, use and failure and the rates of switching between methods. These methods vary and include oral and injectable contraceptives, periodic abstinence, condom use, intra-uterine device (IUD), and withdrawal.

Although many countries showed trends in which prevalence of contraceptive use was higher among young adolescents than any other group of women, they were more likely to abandon contraceptives or experience contraceptive failure. Young women had a 25 percent higher failure rate than older women, due to factors including improper use, experimentation with various kinds of contraception, lack of access, and lack of proper sexual health education.

The report also noted that both sexual activity and contraceptive use have increased among developing countries, although the rates of increase vary. Condom use increased from 5 to 19 percent between 1994 and 2004 in a study of 27 Sub-Saharan countries, and similar trends can be found in countries around Latin America.

The findings are important in examining international health care systems and the increased need for sexual health and proper access to contraceptives around the world. The findings also confirm what for many is not a surprise: younger women are more likely to have inconsistencies with their contraceptive methods, making them more susceptible to unintended pregnancies.

The results are also in line with many of the studies done in the United States.

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