18 Jan 2019

Teens know little of most effective contraception, study finds

7:24 am on 18 January 2019

New Zealand teenagers know little about more effective forms of contraception available and would support an educational programme about long-acting reversible contraceptives, a new study has found.

Birth control. 


Photo: AFP

The University of Otago surveyed 32 teenage girls about their thoughts on contraception, and to discover whether they would find more information about longer-lasting contraceptive options useful.

Dr Helen Paterson

Dr Helen Paterson Photo: Supplied

Dr Helen Paterson, who supervised the study, said participants knew little about implants like Jadelle and IUDs despite the fact they were 22 times more effective than the contraceptive pill.

A lack of time, money and other barriers limited participants' access to long-acting reversible contraception, Dr Paterson said.

"Very few of their peers were actually using long-acting reversible contraceptives. Then generally what they knew about it was from their peers - that was their main information source, and it would seem the majority of adolescents in New Zealand are provided with either nothing, condoms, or the pill.

"So therefore they're the things that they knew more about," Dr Paterson said.

After learning about long-acting reversible contraceptives the participants considered them a reliable option, Dr Paterson added.

"It is often believed that adolescents would be unwilling to consider a long-acting reversible contraceptive, but our findings are in line with other research that concludes that what they offer and what young women want from contraception mean they are a suitable option," Dr Paterson said.