Influence of cost on contraceptive choices amongst university students

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McConnell, Roisin
Meaney, Sarah
O'Donoghue, Keelin
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Irish Medical Organisation
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Introduction: Cost remains a major barrier in accessing effective contraception especially long-acting reversible contraception. This study sought to assess the current contraception choices amongst university students including the influence of cost on choices. Methods: A cross-sectional study of Irish university students at University College Cork was undertaken. The online survey examined current contraception use, justifications for this choice of contraception and the effect that hypothetical provision of free contraception would have on their choices. Results: A total of 1,840 sexually active students completed the online survey. Condoms were used by 1,020 students (55.4%), the combined pill was used by 729 (39.6%) and ‘coitus interruptus’ was used by 169 students (9.1%). Statistically males were more likely to spend under €50 annually (47.6%, n=182 of 382, p<0.001) and female students were more likely to spend over €100 on contraception (41.2%, n=470 of 1,141, p<0.001).By removing cost, 394 (34.3%) sexually active women would definitely change contraception, with another 250 women (21.8%) considering changing. Discussion: Students often rely on unreliable or user-dependent methods of contraception. Our study has demonstrated that cost influences contraceptive choice with nearly half of the women surveyed stating they would change contraception if cost was removed.
Contraception , Cost , Irish university students , University College Cork
McConnell, R., Meaney, S. and O'Donoghue, K. (2021) 'Influence of cost on contraceptive choices amongst university students', Irish Medical Journal, 114(6), P376 (10pp). Available at: (Accessed: 10 August 2021)
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