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The intimate link: Documenting contraceptive sex-acceptability among new IUD and implant users

Jenny Higgins, PhD, MPH, University of Wisconsin

Project abstract

Persistently high rates of unintended pregnancy in the United States suggest an inadequacy of current prevention models and a need for new approaches to contraceptive acceptability and promotion. Increased use of highly effective, reversible contraception (HERC) could significantly reduce unintended pregnancies, but less than 10% of US women currently use IUDs or implants.

A critically understudied aspect of both HERC methods and contraception in general is their sex-acceptability, which could in turn influence continuation rates and marketing efforts. The field lacks both longitudinal studies and consistently applied measures that capture multiple aspects of women's sexual experience.

This proposal establishes the foundation for a new paradigm in contraceptive research by addressing these important gaps. The study will assess sex-acceptability among 150 new HERC users across 3 time periods, using validated scales that capture multiple dimensions of sexuality. Analyses will 1) assess sex-acceptability over time, 2) document associations between sex-acceptability and overall method acceptability, and 3) conduct preliminary combinations of multiple sexual items into a broader and more valid contraceptive sex-acceptability measure to be used in future studies. This innovative project will set the stage for larger assessments of the intersection of contraception and sexuality.

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