Research Article| Volume 118, 109897, February 2023

Non-barrier contraceptive use patterns among Latina adolescents attending California reproductive health centers: A longitudinal study



      To describe use of non-barrier contraceptives over a 9-month period, consistency in method use, and identify factors associated with method nonuse, switching, and consistency among Latina adolescents attending California sexual and reproductive health (SRH) centers.

      Study design

      We conducted a cohort study using data self-reported at baseline, and 3- and 9-months post-baseline. The analysis included 1162 sexually active adolescents aged 18 to 19 who self-identified as female and Latina, indicated that they were not currently pregnant or trying to become pregnant, and who attended California SRH centers between June 2016 and June 2020. We used binomial generalized multivariable linear models with a log link to assess the likelihood of nonbarrier method consistency, switching, and non-use.


      At baseline, 453 of 1162 (39%) of respondents were using short-acting methods (pill, patch, ring, or injection), 113 of 1162 (9.7%) were using long-acting methods (implants or intrauterine devices [IUDs]), and 596 of 1162 (51.3%) reported using neither short- nor long-acting methods. Over a 9-month period, 22/33 (66.7%) of those using IUDs consistently used the method, which was a statistically greater frequency of consistency than individuals who selected other nonbarrier methods (270/530 [50.9%], aRR: 1.40; 95% CI: 1.11, 1.77). Implant users had rates of method consistency similar to users of other nonbarrier methods (aRR: 1.11; 95% CI: 0.89, 1.38). Factors independently associated with method consistency included being older, having never been pregnant, having greater perceived risk of pregnancy, and greater contraceptive knowledge.


      Sexually active Latina adolescents attending California SRH centers who were not trying to become pregnant maintained consistent contraceptive use more frequently when using an IUD. Using a patient-centered approach, contraceptive counseling for Latina adolescents can describe the combined efficacy and contraceptive stability offered by IUDs should patients desire it.


      This study addressees gaps in knowledge about U.S. Latina adolescents’ contraceptive use patterns. We demonstrate that IUD users, and not implant users, appear more likely to consistently use their method than those using non-LARC methods. Patient-centered contraceptive counseling for Latina adolescents can describe the greater contraceptive stability that IUDs may offer.


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