The impact of oral contraceptive initiation on young women's condom use in 3 American cities: missed opportunities for intervention

PLoS One. 2014 Jul 8;9(7):e101804. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101804. eCollection 2014.


Purpose: To describe women's condom use and assess predictors of consistent condom use and dual method use in the 6 months after the initiation of oral contraception (OC).

Methods: We conducted a planned secondary cohort analysis among women less than 25 years of age initiating oral contraceptives at public family planning clinics in Atlanta, Dallas and New York City, USA, as part of a randomized trial. These clinics provide care to predominantly African American or Hispanic women of low socioeconomic status. Participants completed interviews at enrollment and at 6 months after OC start. We used multivariate logistic regression to assess factors associated with consistent condom and dual method use at 6 months.

Results: 1281 participants met the inclusion criteria for this analysis. At enrollment prior to OC start, 28% were consistent condom users. In the six months after initiation of oral contraception, only 14% always used a condom and 4% always used dual methods. In multivariate analysis, receiving basic advice to always use a condom after OC initiation from a provider during the baseline clinic consultation was associated with a 50% increase in the odds of using condoms consistently. Only 28% of participants were given this condom use advice.

Conclusions: This study documents a decline in women's condom consistent use subsequent to initiation of the oral contraceptive and suggests that opportunities for positive intervention around condom use among women starting hormonal methods are being missed. Basic condom use advice, which is neither time consuming nor resource dependent, was associated with increased consistent use and should be immediately implemented in all family planning services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cities
  • Condoms, Female*
  • Contraception Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Contraceptives, Oral*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Public Health Surveillance
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptives, Oral