Cost a major factor in contraception choices for female students - survey

Cost a major factor in contraception choices for female students - survey

Condoms were the most common choice, used by 1,020 students or a little over 55%, while the combined pill was used by 729 (39.6%). Picture: iStock

One-third of female students would change contraception method if the cost was removed, a new survey has found.

The Irish Medical Journal conducted an online survey of 2,079 students at University College Cork (UCC) examining contraceptive choices, why a particular method was chosen and how a hypothetical provision of free contraception would have on their choices.

According to the survey, male students were more likely to spend €50 and under on contraception, compared to their female peers would likely spend more than €100.

Condoms were the most common choice, used by 1,020 students or a little over 55%. The combined pill was used by 729 (39.6%), while "coitus interruptus" or withdrawal method was used by 169 (9.1%) students.

However, by removing costs, the survey shows that 394 (34.3%) sexually active female students would "definitely" change contraception, with a further 250 (21.8%) considering the change.

Amongst 18-24-year-olds, 61% would either definitely change or consider changing.

The authors of the survey say that students often use "unreliable and user-dependent" contraceptive methods to protect against STIs and pregnancy, while non-use of contraception is the leading reason for students requiring emergency contraception amongst students.

They conclude: “The Government’s delay in providing free contraception means financial barriers still exist in Ireland today limiting access to effective contraception.”

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