Readily available emergency contraception has not replaced conventional methods in adolescents in Finland

July 09, 1999

(Questionnaire study of use of emergency contraception among teenagers)

Readily available emergency contraception has not become a contraceptive choice replacing conventional methods among adolescents in Finland, report researchers in this week's BMJ. Dr Elise Kosunen and colleagues from the University of Tampere also found that easy access to contraceptive services (including emergency contraception) and intensive sex education had not increased adolescent sexual activity.

Kosunen et al surveyed 21,940 adolescent girls aged between the ages of 14 and 17 years. They found that among these girls there was a high level of understanding of what emergency contraception was (97 per cent of 14-15 year olds and 98.5 per cent of 17 year olds). Their study also found that the proportion of girls who had used emergency contraception increased with age (2.1 per cent of 14-15 year olds as compared with 15.1 per cent of 17 year olds). In terms of the frequency of use of emergency contraception the researchers found that about two thirds of all girls who had used this method had used it only once.

The team also investigated levels of sexual activity among the adolescent girls and found that 13.3 per cent of 14 year olds, 28.8 per cent of 15 year olds and 51.5 per cent of 17 year olds had had sexual intercourse at least once. They conclude that these levels are no higher than in the late 1980s or early 1990s when emergency contraception was not widely used.

Dr. Elise Kosunen, Senior Lecturer in General Practice, University of Tampere, Medical School, Department of General Practice, Tampere, Finland


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