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Contraceptive Use in Context of Zika Preparedness

MMWR; ePub 2016 Aug 2; Boulet, D’Angelo, et al

The use of moderate and less effective contraception was most common among nonpregnant and postpartum women at risk for unintended pregnancy and among sexually active female high school students, while the use of no contraceptive method and use of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) varied by state, age group, and race/ethnicity. This according to an analysis of women living in the 41 states where mosquito-borne transmission might be possible and Zika virus and condom use to prevent sexual transmission.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used 2011-2013 and 2015 survey data from 4 state-based surveillance systems: the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS, 2011-2013), which surveys adult women; the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS, 2013), and the Maternal and Infant Health Assessment (MIHA, 2013), which surveys women with a recent live birth; and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS, 2015), which surveys students in grades 9 to 12. Researchers found:

• The proportion of women at risk for unintended pregnancy who used LARC ranged from 5.5% to 18.9% for BRFSS-surveyed women, and 6.9% to 30.5% for PRAMS/MIHA–surveyed women.

• The proportion of women not using any contraception ranged from 12.3% to 34.3% (BRFSS) and from 3.5% to 15.3% (PRAMS/MIHA).

• YRBS data indicated that among sexually active female high school students, use of LARC at last intercourse ranged from 1.7% to 8.4%, and use of no contraception ranged from 7.3% to 22.8%.

The authors suggest that in the context of Zika preparedness, the full range of contraceptive methods approved by the FDA, including LARC, should be readily available and accessible for women who want to avoid or delay pregnancy.


Boulet SL, D’Angelo DV, Morrow B, et al. Contraceptive use among nonpregnant and postpartum women at risk for unintended pregnancy, and female high school students, in the context of Zika preparedness—United States, 2011–2013 and 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6530e2.