Birth control isn’t always enough.
New research shows that teenage girls who use the most effective methods of birth control—intrauterine devices and implants also known as long-acting reversible contraception (or LARC)—are less likely to use condoms during sex.
According to a study based off of 2013 data, high school-age girls who use LARC methods are 60% less likely to use condoms compared with those who take birth control pills.
IUDs and hormone implants are exceptionally efficient methods of preventing unplanned pregnancies. In fact, only one out of 100 female LARC users will experience an unintended pregnancy. This number is significantly lower than women who use other forms of birth control like the Depo shot, pills, rings, or patches. Six to nine unintended pregnancies will occur annually in women who choose less effective methods.
While LARC users are proactively preventing unintended pregnancies, not using condoms still puts them at great risk for contracting an STI. According to Reuters, “LARC users were also more likely to have had two or more sexual partners in the past three months and four or more lifetime sexual partners compared to those using the shot, patch, ring, and pills.”
This data proves young women are actively protecting themselves and choosing family-planning methods when it comes to sex, but this direct correlation between LARC users and lack of condom usage is an important indicator of how we should be speaking to teens about condoms. It is important to safeguard oneself against unintended pregnancy, but it is equally as important to safeguard against other risks, like sexually transmitted infections and diseases like Zika.