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Sexual orientation-related differences in contraceptive use: A brief report based on a cohort of adolescent and young women

  • Brittany M. Charlton
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author.
    Affiliations
    Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, United States

    Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States

    Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, United States

    Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States
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  • Colleen A. Reynolds
    Affiliations
    Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, United States

    Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States
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  • Elizabeth Janiak
    Affiliations
    Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States

    Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, Boston, MA, United States
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  • Amy D. DiVasta
    Affiliations
    Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, United States

    Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States
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  • Rachel K. Jones
    Affiliations
    Research Division, Guttmacher Institute, New York, NY, United States
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  • Jorge E. Chavarro
    Affiliations
    Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, United States

    Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States

    Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States
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  • Vishnudas Sarda
    Affiliations
    Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, United States
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  • S. Bryn Austin
    Affiliations
    Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, United States

    Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States

    Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, United States

    Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States
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      Abstract

      Objectives

      To examine contraceptive methods used by adolescent/young adult women of diverse sexual orientations.

      Study design

      We collected data from 12,902 females, born 1982–1995, from the longitudinal Growing Up Today Study.

      Results

      Compared to heterosexuals, lesbians were half as likely to use contraceptives; other sexual minority subgroups (e.g., bisexuals) were more likely to use contraceptives, particularly long-acting reversible contraceptives.

      Conclusions

      Many sexual minority women use contraception throughout adolescence/young adulthood, though use is low among lesbians.

      Implications

      With limited contraception use, lesbians miss opportunities for care and need to be brought into the healthcare system in other ways.

      Keywords

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