Contraceptive Use Among Nonpregnant and Postpartum Women at Risk for Unintended Pregnancy, and Female High School Students, in the Context of Zika Preparedness - United States, 2011-2013 and 2015
Boulet, Sheree L. et al.
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Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause congenital microcephaly and brain abnormalities (1,2). Since 2015, Zika virus has been spreading through much of the World Health Organization's Region of the Americas, including U.S. territories. Zika virus is spread through the bite of Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, by sex with an infected partner, or from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy.* CDC estimates that 41 states are in the potential range of Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquitoes (3), and on July 29, 2016, the Florida Department of Health identified an area in one neighborhood of Miami where Zika virus infections in multiple persons are being spread by bites of local mosquitoes. These are the first known cases of local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission in the continental United States.(†) CDC prevention efforts include mosquito surveillance and control, targeted education about Zika virus and condom use to prevent sexual transmission, and guidance for providers on contraceptive counseling to reduce unintended pregnancy. To estimate the prevalence of contraceptive use among nonpregnant and postpartum women at risk for unintended pregnancy and sexually active female high school students living in the 41 states where mosquito-borne transmission might be possible, CDC used 2011-2013 and 2015 survey data from four state-based surveillance systems: the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS, 2011-2013), which surveys adult women; the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS, 2013) and the Maternal and Infant Health Assessment (MIHA, 2013), which surveys women with a recent live birth; and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS, 2015), which surveys students in grades 9-12. CDC defines an unintended pregnancy as one that is either unwanted (i.e., the pregnancy occurred when no children, or no more children, were desired) or mistimed (i.e., the pregnancy occurred earlier than desired). The proportion of women at risk for unintended pregnancy who used a highly effective reversible method, known as long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), ranged from 5.5% to 18.9% for BRFSS-surveyed women and 6.9% to 30.5% for PRAMS/MIHA-surveyed women. The proportion of women not using any contraception ranged from 12.3% to 34.3% (BRFSS) and from 3.5% to 15.3% (PRAMS/MIHA). YRBS data indicated that among sexually active female high school students, use of LARC at last intercourse ranged from 1.7% to 8.4%, and use of no contraception ranged from 7.3% to 22.8%. In the context of Zika preparedness, the full range of contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including LARC, should be readily available and accessible for women who want to avoid or delay pregnancy. Given low rates of LARC use, states can implement strategies to remove barriers to the access and availability of LARC including high device costs, limited provider reimbursement, lack of training for providers serving women and adolescents on insertion and removal of LARC, provider lack of knowledge and misperceptions about LARC, limited availability of youth-friendly services that address adolescent confidentiality concerns, inadequate client-centered counseling, and low consumer awareness of the range of contraceptive methods available.