Friday, July 08, 2005

EZ access to EC doesn't increase risky S-E-X

Researchers at Imperial College London have reported no significant change in contraceptive use over the 2-year period after Emergency Contraception became available in the UK without a prescription. The results were part of a survey of approximatelty women aged 16-49 each, with approximately 2,000 responses received/year in 2000, 2001 & 2002; OTC use of EC was approved by the British Health Authorities in January 2001.
The number of women who said they used the morning-after pill did not change over the three years studied - around 8% of the women or 160 in each of the years. However, where they got it from did.

A smaller number went to see their GP or local NHS clinic to get the emergency contraception and more chose to buy it from a local chemist after it became available over the counter.

The type of women who used it also changed slightly.

Overall, younger, single women were most likely to report having used it

There was a slight increase in use among 16-19 year olds in 2001 when the change in availability of the emergency pill was made, but this dropped back down again in 2002.

However, it did not increase the proportion of women using the drug more than once during the year.

The only thing predicting whether or not women would buy emergency contraception over the counter was income.

Women with the highest incomes were over five times as likely to report having obtained their contraception in this way.
The results fly in the face of right-wing religious groups that oppose allowing access to EC because they feel it will encourage girls to engage in risky sexual activity. The same groups also oppose making vaccines against HPV, a leading cause of cervical cancer, available to females on similar grounds.

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