Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 17th 2014 Contents A32
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, February 17, 2014
Young men know even less about emergency
contraception than young women do, which may
be limiting access to an effective means of preventing
unwanted pregnancies, researchers say.
"The big finding in our study is that young men
had a lot less knowledge about emergency contra-
ception than the young women that we surveyed,
and even among the young women, knowledge wasn t
great," Sheree Schrager, a member of the study team,
told Reuters Health.
"About half of the women understood basic facts
about emergency contraception, how you get it, how
you use it, and the fact that male partners were also
able to buy it over-the-counter for their female part-
ners," added Schrager, a researcher at Children s Hos-
pital Los Angeles, California.
"But young men had significantly lower knowledge
then the young women did, and this is an opportunity
for providers to reach out to young men in the hopes
of reaching more young women to use emergency
contraception," she said.
Emergency contraception, sometimes called "the
morning after pill," prevents pregnancy after unpro-
tected sex or when barrier methods of contraception
fail. Currently, nine US states allow pharmacists to
dispense emergency contraception without a pre-
scription under certain conditions, according to the
Unplanned pregnancies happen at higher rates in
poor communities, and their health and economic
consequences may be greater, the researchers write
in The Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive
Levonorgestrel (Plan B) has been the primary agent
used for emergency contraception since its intro-
duction in 2000, they note. But it s promise for pre-
venting up to half of unwanted pregnancies has gone
unfulfilled, in part because of lack of knowledge and
access to the drug.
To gauge how much older teens and young adults
know about emergency contraception, the researchers
enrolled 101 males and 97 females ages 18 to 25 into
the study during 2008 and 2009. The participants
were either patients at a free health care clinic in Los
Angeles or had received physical screenings as part
of their training for the Los Angeles Job Corps.
Most of the participants were Hispanic---about 61
per cent. Another 13 per cent were White and 16 per
cent were African American. The remaining six per
cent identified themselves as belonging to "other"
ethnic groups. Almost three quarters had not com-
pleted high school.
About 36 per cent of sexually experienced young
women had used emergency contraception previously,
while 18 per cent of the sexually experienced males
had partners who had used it.
The participants answered questionnaires that
included items measuring their knowledge of facts
about emergency contraception attitudes about using
it. Composite scores were determined from the num-
ber of correct answers and ranged from zero to four.
The women s average score was 2.85, while the
men s average score was 1.97.
About half the women and a third of the men
knew that emergency contraception was available at
pharmacies without a prescription.
Only 18 per cent of the women and eight per cent
of men knew that emergency contraceptives were
available to women under the age of 18.
A few more men than women (26 per cent versus
21 per cent) knew that a man can purchase emergency
contraception for his female partner.
"We also found that the young men and young
women were really interested in learning about emer-
gency contraception and other forms of contraception
from their primary healthcare providers and so despite
the fact they mostly get the knowledge from their
friends, in the future they d much rather be hearing
about it from the doctor," Schrager said.
The findings might not apply to all young people,
the authors point out.
Schrager added that her group s report was targeted
to healthcare providers who may have overlooked
young men when thinking about pregnancy prevention
in their practices.
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
Educating young men could
expand 'morning after pill' use
A Study shows that Young
men know even less about
than young women do.
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