Only 15% of Males use Condoms

Contraception use not prevalent among Latinos despite desire to avoid pregnancy

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(RxWiki News) Young adults may not want to have children, but that doesn't seem to be affecting whether or not they use protection during sex.

A recent study revealed that half of the Hispanic men and women surveyed in rural Oregon don't use contraception even though they don't want to get pregnant, and researchers said this trend holds true for non-Hispanics too.

"Use protection / contraception when you have sex."

The study, led by Jocelyn Warren, a postdoctoral public health fellow, and Marie Harvey, a public health professor, at Oregon State University, took in responses from 450 sexually active Latino men and women between the ages of 18 and 25.

They found that respondents who participated in making a decision about contraception were more likely to use condoms than a female form of contraception or no contraception at all.

Condoms are an ideal since they prevent both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Those Latinos who are more acculturated to living in the U.S. and feel confident discussing contraceptive choices with their partners were more likely to use a female form of contraception rather than no contraceptive method at all.

Overall, 36 percent of those surveyed used a female method of contraception, and 15 percent consistently used condoms.

"The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy calls this 'magical thinking,'" Warren said.

"There is this tendency to believe that if you have unprotected sex once and nothing happens, somehow you are incapable of getting pregnant," she said. "It is a widespread issue and certainly not just applicable to our study of rural Latinos."

The authors conclude that "interventions to prevent unintended pregnancy among Latinos in rural areas should address the potential role of partner and relationship characteristics in the sexual risk and protective behaviors of women, men and couples."

This means targeting women alone in increasing use of contraceptive will not likely be effective.

"Programs and services aimed at preventing unintended pregnancy need to include men because we repeatedly find that women do not make decisions about contraception use on their own, and they do not always have the power in a relationship and this needs to be taken into account," Harvey said.

The study was published in the December issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. It was funded in part by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The authors did not declare any conflicts of interest.

Last Updated:
February 17, 2012