Use of Long-Acting Reversible Contraception in a Cluster-Random Sample of Female Sex Workers in Kenya

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2019 Aug;146(2):184-191. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.12862. Epub 2019 Jun 17.


Objective: To assess correlates of long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) use, and explore patterns of LARC use among female sex workers (FSWs) in Kenya.

Methods: Baseline cross-sectional data were collected between September 2016 and May 2017 in a cluster-randomized controlled trial in Mombasa. Eligibility criteria included current sex work, age 16-34 years, not pregnant, and not planning pregnancy. Peer educators recruited FSWs from randomly selected sex-work venues. Multiple logistic regression identified correlates of LARC use. Prevalence estimates were weighted to adjust for variation in FSW numbers recruited across venues.

Results: Among 879 participants, the prevalence of contraceptive use was 22.6% for implants and 1.6% for intra-uterine devices (IUDs). LARC use was independently associated with previous pregnancy (adjusted odds ratio for one pregnancy, 11.4; 95% confidence interval, 4.25-30.8), positive attitude to and better knowledge of family planning, younger age, and lower education. High rates of adverse effects were reported for all methods.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that implant use has increased among FSWs in Kenya. Unintended pregnancy risks remain high and IUD use is negligible. Although LARC rates are encouraging, further intervention is required to improve both uptake (particularly of IUDs) and greater access to family planning services.

Keywords: Cluster-randomized design; Complex sampling; Contraceptive implant; Intra-uterine device; Kenya; Long-acting reversible contraception; Sex work.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Contraception Behavior / psychology
  • Contraception Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intrauterine Devices / adverse effects
  • Intrauterine Devices / statistics & numerical data
  • Kenya
  • Long-Acting Reversible Contraception / adverse effects
  • Long-Acting Reversible Contraception / statistics & numerical data*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Sex Workers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Unsafe Sex / statistics & numerical data