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Contraception. 2007 Oct;76(4):273-7. Epub 2007 Aug 28.

Online availability of hormonal contraceptives without a health care examination: effect of knowledge and health care screening.

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1
Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The study was conducted to investigate whether the knowledge of women using an online resource to obtain hormonal contraceptives (HCs) without a health care examination is similar to women who obtain HC in the clinic.

STUDY DESIGN:

Women who accessed HC prescriptions online or through a clinic visit were offered an anonymous self-administered survey regarding the contraindications to and possible complications of HC. Tests of equivalence were used to compare the mean scores between the two populations.

RESULTS:

Online users (n=243) were older, more affluent, more educated, and more likely to be insured than clinic patients (n=161). The two populations demonstrated equivalent HC knowledge [contraindications (mean score, 95% confidence interval): clinic 81.1% (77.2-85.0%), online 85.0% (82.0-88.0%); complications: clinic 77.6% (72.7-82.6%), online 82.1% (78.8-85.5%)]. The online population remained equivalent or superior to the clinic population in an age-restricted analysis.

CONCLUSION:

Women who self-select to obtain HC prescriptions online demonstrate at least equivalent knowledge of potential HC risks as women seen in a clinic encounter without a pelvic examination.

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