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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2014 Feb;23(2):168-74. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2013.4319. Epub 2013 Nov 8.

When two is better than one: differences in characteristics of women using condoms only compared to those using condoms combined with an effective contraceptive.

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1 Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne , Melbourne, Australia .



There remain high rates of unintended pregnancy around the world. Adding an effective contraceptive to those who currently only use male condoms may reduce these rates. The aim of this study is to identify the prevalence of and factors associated with the combination use of an effective contraception with male condoms in sexually active women who are already using male condoms.


Women attending Family Planning Victoria Clinics from April to July 2011 were approached to complete a questionnaire about contraception usage in the last 3 months and 34 associated variables. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to determine women with greater odds of an effective contraception together with male condoms compared with those using male condoms only.


Of 1006 women surveyed, 872 women stated it was "very important" or "important" to avoid pregnancy at this stage of their life. Of these 872 women, 690 reported male condom use-274 women used male condoms and an effective contraception, while 416 used male condoms only. Of note, only 67 (16%) of the 416 solely male condom users were using this consistently. On multivariate analysis, characteristics associated with combination use (compared with condom use only) were discussion with a health professional in the last 12 months (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 2.9; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.9, 4.4), satisfaction with contraception (AOR 1.8; 95% CI 1.3, 2.7), having more than 1 partner in the last 3 months (AOR 1.8; 95% CI 1.2, 2.6) and past pregnancy (AOR 0.3; 95% CI 0.1, 0.5).


In a group of women not intending to be pregnant who were using male condoms, a significant number remained at risk for unintended pregnancy due to inconsistent use of male condoms and poor use of concurrent effective contraception.

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