October 2022: Power Updates Edition
This study sought to characterize users of an online prescribing platform that provides contraceptive services in the US by examining county-level demographic characteristics and proportions with contraindications to hormonal birth control. From 2015 to 2017, there were more than 38,000 requests for prescription birth control. Most patients were seeking birth control pills and were over 18 years of age. Users were less likely to be living in counties considered mostly rural or rural and in counties with ≥20% of women living below the poverty line. Fewer than 10% of users had any contraindication to hormonal methods containing estrogen.
Using longitudinal, clinic-based data from the Society of Family Planning Abortion Clinical Research Network, this study assessed family planning clinic practices related to IUD self-removal, considering data from May, August, and October 2020 to understand how practices changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings from 63 clinical sites indicate that 7.9% sites provided guidance on IUD self-removal in early 2020; this increased to 25.4% by the end of the study period.
This cohort study involved baseline and three- and nine-month follow-up surveys with 1,162 sexually active Latina women age 18-19 years. At baseline, 39% were using short-acting methods (pill, patch, ring, or injection), 10% were using long-acting methods (implants or IUDs), and 51% were not using any of these months. At the nine month follow-up, 67% of those using IUDs were consistently using their method, which was a higher estimate of consistency than participants using short-acting methods or implants.
Both Ohio and Texas implemented restrictive abortion laws during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study reports on qualitive interviews with individuals in each state who sought abortion care between March and November 2020. Participants experienced challenges accessing care—some were unable to receive care at all and others reported delays ranging from a few days to as long as 11 weeks. Additionally, some participants were unable to obtain their preferred method. Many interviewees noted feelings of exhaustion, nausea, depression, fear, and hopelessness throughout the process.
Sexual and Reproductive Health
This qualitative study explores New York women’s preferences for receiving sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care in primary care via telehealth. Five focus groups and eight individual interviews were conducted. Participants reported that they preferred telehealth for “basic” SRH topics, such as contraceptive counseling, and they valued the convenience of not having to go to a clinic. However, participants preferred in-person consultation for more “complex” topics, such as preconception counseling, and expressed some concerns about privacy and internet access.
This study reviewed STD-related posts on Reddit, a popular and anonymous social media platform, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic to identify patterns. Examining 24,311 posts from March 2019 through July 2021, findings indicate an increase in posts about STDs during the COVID pandemic, and some changes in the topics addressed. For example, “STD risk” as a topic and general “risk” terms as words only appeared in the pre-COVID time period, whereas “HPV” and “warts” only appeared in the COVID pre-vaccine and post-vaccine periods.
Using annual data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this study examined changes in gonorrhea and chlamydia rates between 2010 and 2019 in four Iowa counties where family planning health centers’ funding was restricted because they provided abortion services. Findings indicate that despite fewer clinics reporting data in 2018 (due to clinic closures following funding cuts), there were significant increases in the number of new gonorrhea cases, from 83 cases per 100,000 individuals to 153.7 cases per 100,000 people in 2018. Chlamydia cases also increased during the same time period, from 414.6 cases per 100,00 people to 466.3 cases per 100,000 people.
Using survey data from 2006 and 2021, this study compared attitudes about comprehensive sexuality education among Minnesota parents of school-age children between time points to identify any changes. In each survey, the vast majority (90%) of parents believed comprehensive sexuality education should be taught in schools. Support for specific topics varied slightly but in general was high at both time points. For some topics (e.g., abortion, sexually transmitted infections, sexual orientation) there were significant increases in parental support over time.
Each year all Title X grantees are required to report on sociodemographic characteristics of their patients and provision of family planning and other sexual and reproductive health preventive health services. Highlights from the 2021 annual report findings include:
- Title X-funded services were implemented through 75 grants to 41 state and local health departments and 34 nonprofit family planning and community health agencies.
- The proportion of uninsured Title X users (36%) was more than two times the proportion the national uninsured rate for US adults (14%).
- 38% of Title X users self-identified as Hispanic or Latino and 21% were limited English proficient.
- At least 6% of the 2.8 million family planning encounters occurred via telehealth.
- 35% of female Title X users used or began a short-acting hormonal birth control method, 16% used or began a long-acting method, 13% used barrier methods, and 5% used permanent methods.
- 53% of Title X users under 25 were tested for chlamydia.