Hormone replacement therapy is used for both menopausal symptoms and in prevention, but for the latter to be effective there may be a need to promote its use. Suitable strategies need to be informed by current practice. A postal questionnaire was therefore sent to 1649 women aged 20-69 years in Stockton-on-Tees to assess which women consider and take hormone replacement therapy. The response rate was 74%. Therapy had been considered by 346 (28%) women of whom 164 (47%) were premenopausal. It was taken by 20% of women aged 45-65 years. Users were more likely to have taken the contraceptive pill. Use of therapy by women with osteoporosis or cardiovascular disease, or with a family history of these, was low. As women used to the idea of taking hormone replacement therapy and accustomed to taking the contraceptive pill reach menopausal age there is likely to be an increase in uptake of therapy. By targeting the 'at risk' groups of women, the primary care team may be able to make most effective use of the therapy and their own resources for the prevention of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.