Coleman, Lester and Ingham, Roger
Attenders at young people's clinics in Southampton: variations in contraceptive use
British Journal of Family Planning, 24, .
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This paper presents findings from a survey of 424 people attending nine young people's clinics within the Southampton Community Health NHS Trust. In addition to recording some descriptive background data on the people attending the clinics, one major aim of the study was to investigate whether talking to the sexual partner about contraception before their first intercourse together and delaying this first intercourse influenced contraceptive use. Overall, 40 per cent of people attending the clinics were aged 16 or under, although there was some variation between clinics in the age groups attracted. Most clients were female (88 per cent), had ever had sexual intercourse (92 per cent), reported four or more lifetime partners (42 per cent) but only one partner within the last six months (73 per cent) and were currently in a relationship (75 per cent). Potential for contraception and sexually transmitted infection was widespread; 46 per cent (of non-virgins) had had intercourse without contraception at least 'a few times' and 18 per cent used condoms 'rarely' or 'never'. In terms of first intercourse with current/most recent partner, 17 per cent had not used any contraception and 32 per cent had failed to use condoms. The most important findings from this study were that use of contraception (and condoms in particular) on the occasion of first intercourse with the current or most recent partner was significantly associated with the following; if partners had talked to each other about contraception before having intercourse together for the first time (p<0.001), and also if this first intercourse was delayed beyond four weeks as opposed to over a few days of first 'going-out' together (p<0.001). Suggestions for further in-depth research are made.
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