Emergency contraceptive pill users’ risk perceptions for sexually transmitted infections and future unintended pregnancy

Mary T. Hickey, Michele G. Shedlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background and purpose: The availability of emergency contraception pills (ECP) over the counter (OTC) has the potential to reduce the incidence of unintended pregnancy; however, the increased risk for sexually transmitted infection (STI) acquisition, related to unprotected intercourse, has not been adequately addressed. The purpose of this study is to gain insight into risk perceptions for STIs and subsequent unintended pregnancy in women who have purchased ECP OTC. Methods: Twenty-one women, aged 18–24, attending a private university in an urban setting, who purchased and used ECP OTC participated in 1-h, individual interviews. Conclusions: Narrative, descriptive findings indicated that these women did not consider themselves at risk for STI or unintended pregnancy, despite having used ECP OTC. Pregnancy prevention was paramount for these women, which overshadowed concerns regarding STIs. Implications for practice: Women at risk for unintended consequences of sexual activity are not fully cognizant of those potential outcomes and do not take measures to prevent their occurrence. The availability of ECP OTC offers protection against unintended pregnancy; however, opportunities for health promotion and prevention counseling may be lost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-534
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners
Volume29
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2017

Keywords

  • Contraception
  • advanced practice nurses
  • nurse practitioners
  • risk factors
  • sexually transmitted infections (STI)
  • young adult women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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