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January 1996

Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, and Pregnancy Prevention: Combined Contraceptive Practices Among Urban African-American Early Adolescents

Author Affiliations

From the Division of General Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics (Drs Stanton, Li, and Feigelman and Mr Galbraith), and the Center for Minority Health Research, University of Maryland, Baltimore (Drs Stanton, Li, and Ms Kaljee); and the Cultural Systems Analysis Group, Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland, College Park (Ms Kaljee).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150(1):17-24. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1996.02170260021003

Objectives:  To evaluate the success of efforts to educate youth not only to use prescription contraceptives to avoid pregnancy, but also to use condoms to avoid sexually transmitted diseases, including infection with the human immunodeficiency virus.

Methods:  Longitudinal study of 383 African-American youth aged 9 to 15 years enrolled in a randomized, controlled trial of an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) risk reduction intervention. Data about contraceptive practices were obtained at baseline and 6, 12, and 18 months later using a culturally and developmentally appropriate risk assessment tool administered with "talking" computers (Macintosh, Apple Computer Inc, Cupertino, Calif).

Results:  Approximately three fourths of sexually active youth used some form of contraception in each 6-month round, with almost half of the youth using combinations of contraceptives. Among all youth at baseline and among control youth throughout the study, more than half used condoms and more than two thirds who used oral contraceptives also used condoms. Receipt of an AIDS education intervention was associated with use of more effective contraceptive practices (eg, condoms and another prescription or nonprescription method of birth control). After receiving the intervention, more than 80% of the youth who used oral contraceptives also used condoms. Contraceptive practices showed considerable stability. Knowledge about AIDS was positively associated with use of more effective contraceptive methods.

Conclusions:  Many youth are using condoms and prescription birth control simultaneously, and these use rates can be increased through AIDS education interventions.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1996;150:17-24)