Research Article| Volume 49, ISSUE 1, P73-86, January 1994

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Contraceptive use and attitudes in Great Britain

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      In order to update current knowledge on contraceptive use and attitudes in Great Britain (i.e. England, Scotland and Wales), a survey was conducted among 1753 randomly selected British women aged 15–45. Replies were received from 967 women (55.2%). Seventy-three percent (73%) of fertile, sexually active women who wished to avoid pregnancy were using reliable methods of contraception, viz. oral contraceptives (OCs), intrauterine devices (IUDs) or sterilization.
      However, it was found that adolescents and women over 40 who wished to avoid pregnancy were, nevertheless, especially likely not to be using any contraceptive method at all. The women surveyed were concerned about weight gain, cardiovascular and cancer risks associated with OC use, and infection and infertility risks associated with IUD use. Sixty percent (60%) perceived sterilization as a major and risky surgical operation. It was concluded that contraceptive practice in Britain had not improved greatly in recent years. The latest scientific findings regarding the true advantages and disadvantages of OCs, IUDs and sterilization, therefore, need to be brought to the attention of the lay public more effectively. Special efforts need to be directed towards providing adolescents and women over 40 with proper information. Physicians and the mass media could play a considerable role in this respect.


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