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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2009 Jul;18(7):1063-70. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2008.1131.

Contraceptive use among sexually active university students.

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Department of Public Health Sciences, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina 28223-0001, USA.



The purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate factors related to contraceptive use and nonuse among a group of sexually active women attending a university.


From October 2006 to August 2007, 326 female students participated in a cross-sectional study at a large, public university. Women self-reported information on contraceptive behaviors via web-based and postal mail questionnaires. Among sexually active women, odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (Cls) were calculated to examine the association between various characteristics and the decision to use contraception. Reasons for contraceptive use and nonuse were also further explored.


Of sexually active women, 77.1% reported using contraception. The most popular methods of contraception used were oral contraceptives and male condoms. Twenty-five percent of women not using contraception indicated that cost was an issue. Women who reported that a healthcare worker had ever talked to them about contraception had 6.63 times the odds of currently using contraception (95% CI 2.30, 19.18).


The most common reason for contraceptive nonuse was related to cost. In addition to educating students on the availability of effective, low-cost methods of contraception, healthcare workers can take advantage of well-woman visits to discuss contraceptive use and methods that suit an individual's needs. Such interventions and personalized counseling may lead to higher continuation rates and increased user satisfaction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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