Use of long-action reversible contraception (LARC), such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants, increased from 2005–2013 among teens aged 15–19 seeking contraceptive services, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Data from the 2005–2013 Family Planning Annual Report were reviewed to examine use of LARC among female teens aged 15–19 years attending service sites funded under the Title X National Family Planning Program. Reversible contraceptive methods were categorized based on the percentage of users who experience pregnancy during the first year of typical use:

  • Most effective (<1%): IUDs and implants
  • Moderately effective (6%–12%): oral contraceptives, injectables, contraceptive patch, vaginal ring, and diaphragms
  • Least effective (≥18%): contraceptive sponges, spermicides, fertility awareness-based methods, and other methods, including withdrawal.

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Approximately 7.5 million female clients aged 15–19 years sought contraceptive services during the study period, of which the percentage who adopted or continued use of LARC at their last visit increased from 0.4% (2005) to 7.1% (2013) (P<0.001). The percentage of female clients that used moderately effective methods decreased from 76.9% to 73.4%, and the percentage that used least effective methods decreased from 22.7% to 19.5%. In comparing LARC types, use of IUDs increased from 0.4% to 2.8% and use of implants increased from 0.04% to 4.3%. Although use of IUDs was more prevalent than use of implants during 2005–2011, implants were more popular in 2012 and 2013. Overall use of LARC was greater each year among teens aged 18–19 vs. 15–17 years (P<0.001 for each year) and use increased from 0.6% to 7.6% among teens aged 18–19 years, and from 0.3% to 6.5% among teens aged 15–17 years.

The efforts to improve access to LARC among teens seeking contraception at Title X service sites have increased use of these methods more than 15-fold, particularly with implants, the authors added. However, continued efforts are necessary to further increase access and availability to teens.

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