Evaluation of the usefulness of the 'hormones with optional pelvic exam' programme offered at a family planning clinic

Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2012 Aug;17(4):307-13. doi: 10.3109/13625187.2012.672665. Epub 2012 Apr 23.


Objectives: In the United States, access to hormonal contraception commonly requires medical procedures, including Pap smears, breast and pelvic examinations. Over the past 15 years, these procedures, which may constitute barriers to effective contraception, have been declared unnecessary by several organisations. This study aims to evaluate the usefulness of the hormonal contraception with optional pelvic exam (HOPE) programme offered in Southeastern Virginia.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among women participating in the HOPE programme over a four-month period. Questionnaire items included demographics, reproductive history and perceptions concerning physical examinations and access to contraception.

Results: The HOPE programme was perceived as enhancing unintended pregnancy prevention by 73% of respondents. Most of them valued the opportunity to obtain contraception without Pap smears, breast or pelvic examinations.

Conclusions: The HOPE programme, which provides access to contraception without the requirement for invasive examinations, increases and maintains effective levels of pregnancy prevention. HOPE patients were mostly satisfied with the programme. Lower expense and prompt appointment appear to weigh more than the optional pelvic examination programme in the choice of the modality of contraceptive guidance.

MeSH terms

  • Contraceptives, Oral*
  • Family Planning Services*
  • Female
  • Gynecological Examination*
  • Humans
  • Program Evaluation*
  • Virginia


  • Contraceptives, Oral