Send to

Choose Destination
Public Health Rep. 2010 Mar-Apr;125(2):208-17.

Condoms for dual protection: patterns of use with highly effective contraceptive methods.

Author information

Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30341-3724, USA.



U.S. women experience high rates of unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), yet they seldom combine condoms with highly effective contraceptives for optimal protection. Because oral contracep tives (OCs) have been the predominant form of highly effective contraceptio in the U.S., it is unknown whether condom use is similarly low with increasingly promoted user-independent methods.


We used weighted data from the National Survey of Family Growth to assess condom use odds among women relying on OCs vs. user-independent methods (i.e., injectibles, intrauterine devices, and implants). We also estimated the expected reduction in unplanned pregnancies and abortions if half or all of the women currently using a single highly effective method also used condoms.


Across every demographic subgroup based on age, partner status, race/ethnicity, household income, and education, condom use prevalence was lower for women relying on user-independent methods vs. OCs. Multivariable models for adult women also revealed a significant reduction within most demographic subgroups in the odds of condom use among women relying on user-independent methods vs. OCs. Population estimates suggested that if half of all women using highly effective methods alone also used condoms, approximately 40% of unplanned pregnancies and abortions among these women could be prevented, for an annual reduction of 393,000 unplanned pregnancies and nearly 76,000 abortions. If all highly effective method users also used condoms, approximately 80% of unplanned pregnancies and abortions among these women could be prevented, for an annual reduction of 786,000 unplanned pregnancies and nearly 152,000 abortions.


Adding condoms to other methods should be considered seriously as the first line of defense against unplanned pregnancy and STls. This analysis can serve to target interventions where dual-method promotion is needed most.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center