In NZ, 98% of pregnancies in adolescents aged 11-14 are unplanned, and 93% of pregnancies in adolescents aged 15-19 are unplanned. In this population, 41% of adolescents aged 16-19 have had sex and 58% of sexually active adolescents consistently use contraception.
Barriers to contraceptive access include financial cost, opportunity cost, lack of awareness, and persistent myths and misconceptions about different methods.
We propose a proactive contraception provision programme to overcome these barriers.
With a proactive approach, all adolescents would be approached, regardless of sexual activity, and offered a free confidential consultation. Each consultation should include a discussion about safe sex (including STI protection), and a tiered contraceptive counselling approach. Adolescents would then be offered their contraceptive method of choice.
In this presentation we will look at acceptability of such a programme, and discuss three key questions:
1. Which contraceptives should be offered?
2. Which age group should this programme be offered to?
3. Should this be offered to all adolescents, or only female adolescents?
In conclusion, proactive contraception provision is a concept that offers some clear benefits. It could improve adolescents’ contraceptive knowledge, and decrease unintended teenage pregnancy by empowering adolescents to control their fertility in whatever way suits them best.