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MAMTA Health Institute for Mother & Child | New Delhi

Factors determining use of contraceptives among young people

Various factors determine the use of contraceptives. Adolescents whose peers use contraceptives are more likely to use them themselves. Older adolescents are more likely than younger ones to use contraception. Younger adolescents who are sexually active might be less likely to use contraception because of lack of information and because they do not always perceive the repercussions of their actions.

Poor family relationships and communication with parents are associated with inconsistent contraceptive use.

Information is also an important factor in contraceptive use and non-use. People who lack information about contraceptives and their correct use can scarcely use them effectively.

Expectations play an important role. When thinking about sex and contraception, people have some expectations about how likely it is that intercourse will result in pregnancy. And people with this expectation are unlikely to use contraceptives.

Myths also decrease the likelihood of using birth control. Some adolescents believe that they are too young to become pregnant. Others believe that pregnancy results only from repeated coitus or will not occur if they are standing up. Still many adolescents simply did not admit to themselves that they are engaging in coitus. And many adolescents today who use condoms do so more because of fear of AIDS than to protect themselves against unintended pregnancies.

In India, early marriages are a norm and often such couples do not use contraception before the birth of the first child. Even later, the unmet needs of contraception are reflected in the large family size and increasing incidence of abortion.

Other factors influencing contraceptive usage are inadequate knowledge or ignorance of methods and their access.

The legal and policy framework in the country and the health system policy on the availability of the contraceptives to young people may also determine its use. Sometimes even married females seek contraceptive services secretly; they often encounter provider resistance, as providers are sometimes influenced by cultural mores that prohibit contraceptive use among adolescents.

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