Protecting against both pregnancy and disease: predictors of dual method use among a sample of women.

Research paper by S Marie SM Harvey, Jillian T JT Henderson, Meredith Roberts MR Branch

Indexed on: 09 Mar '04Published on: 09 Mar '04Published in: Women & health


Although male condoms are the best form of protection against HIV/STDs, they are not the most effective method for preventing unintended pregnancy. Consequently, use of condoms and a highly effective contraceptive-referred to as dual use-is recommended as the optimal protection against both disease and pregnancy. However, little is known about the factors that promote dual use. This study examined associations of dual method use with women's background characteristics, intrapersonal factors, and relationship characteristics. Data are from a random sample of women selected from a large managed care organization in the Pacific Northwest. The analytic sample contained 371 women who completed a telephone survey and reported use of contraceptives in the past 3 months. Three mutually exclusive method use groups were constructed: effective contraceptive only (hormonal methods, intrauterine device, surgical sterilization) (59%), condom only (24%), and dual use (18%). Variables hypothesized to influence dual use were compared across the three groups in bivariate and multivariate analyses. Findings indicate that women who were younger, reported more than one sexual partner in the past year, and were highly motivated to avoid HIV/STDs--were more likely to use dual methods rather than condoms only or an effective contraceptive method. Women confident about using condoms without feeling embarrassed or breaking the sexual mood were more likely to use dual methods rather than a single effective method. Finally, women with confidence in their ability to use condoms correctly are more likely to rely solely on condoms. Policy and practice implications are discussed.