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Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2002 Apr-Jun;14(2):131-8.

The experience of young people with contraceptive consultations and health care workers.

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Department of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Royal Free and University College London, United Kingdom.


In the United Kingdom, services for contraceptive consultation and family planning were first opened in the 1960s. Early and relevant information to adolescents is of importance. The aim of this paper was to examine young people's attitudes towards and experiences of consultations with health care providers about contraception, taking account of the context of their contraceptive use. Young people aged 16-21 years were recruited to the study from health services (young people's contraceptive and sexual health clinics and a termination of pregnancy clinic), secondary schools and community projects (a youth club, a young mothers' support group, a community education project and a young women offenders unit). As part of the needs' assessment, in-depth interviews and focus groups were conducted. Thirty-two young male and females were interviewed. Knowledge about contraception, sexually transmitted infections and the risk of pregnancy was often high. Many respondents noted that in a five to ten minute consultation there was not the time to discuss personal factors that may affect contraceptive decision making and effective use of methods. Many described a feeling of being rushed through the service and did not feel they had the opportunity to ask questions. What young people said they wanted from consultations with health care workers and their experiences of the consultation process often conflicted. They wanted the time and opportunity to discuss their options. Often the young men, who were accessing services, described how initially they had gone in to collect condoms, but once they knew the clinic and staff would consider making an appointment. It is concluded that young people want to be given choices and information regarding contraception that fit their lifestyles. Improving the structures of contraceptive and sexual health services for young people will help to remove some of the barriers that prevent some young people from accessing them. However, it is just as important that barriers in the service delivery are tackled to ensure young people receive effective contraceptive advice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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