Ready access to 'morning after' pill doesn't increase unprotected teen sex

Providing emergency contraception (EC) to sexually active adolescents in advance does not lead to more unprotected intercourse, according to a randomized trial of adolescents visiting an urban, hospital-based clinic in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Researchers studied 301 predominantly minority, low-income, sexually active women between the ages of 15 and 20 who were not using long-acting contraception. At 1- and 6-month follow-up interviews, they found no differences in reports of unprotected intercourse between those women given EC in advance and a control group.

They did, however, find at the first follow-up visit that the group given advance EC was about twice as likely to use it as the control group (15% vs. 8%, respectively). By 6 months, use evened out between the groups (8% vs. 6%, respectively). In addition, compared with the control group, the group given EC in advance began using it significantly sooner after unprotected intercourse (11.4 hours vs. 21.8 hours, respectively) when it is more likely to be effective.

Gold MA, Wolford JE, Smith KA, et al. The effects of advance provision of emergency contraception on adolescent women's sexual and contraceptive behaviors. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2004;17:87-96.

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