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Education Should Be Dispensed with Emergency Contraception

Diverse populations of women must be targeted

THURSDAY, Aug. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Diverse groups of women make use of emergency contraception, and those who provide it are in good position to deliver education messages about safe sex, according to research published in the August issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Maureen G. Phipps, M.D., of the Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island in Providence, and colleagues conducted a study of 227 women aged 17 to 43 years who sought either family planning or emergency contraceptive services between 2003 and 2004.

Of the women who sought emergency contraception, 62 percent were educated beyond high school versus 52 percent of those seeking general family planning, and 79 percent were not married versus 42 percent of the family planning patients, the researchers found. There were also differences between the two groups in terms of age, race and income. Unprotected last intercourse was more common among the emergency contraceptive group than the family planning group, and they were less likely to have a history of sexually transmitted infection, the report indicates.

"Although the two study groups were being evaluated for different solutions to prevent pregnancy, their sexual risk behaviors were similar," the authors write. "Understanding the demographic and health characteristics of women who seek family planning services and emergency contraception will help inform meaningful education programs to increase awareness of emergency contraception and to encourage safe sex practices for all women."

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