Objectives Although adolescents and young adults of lower socioeconomic status (SES) are disproportionately affected by unintended pregnancies, research on experiences with emergency contraception (EC) in this population has lagged. Furthermore, it is unclear whether EC-related knowledge and behaviour varies between young men and women. This study investigated knowledge, attitudes and experiences with EC among low SES young men and women aged 18–25 years.
Methods One hundred and ninety-eight new enrollees at two Los Angeles primary medical care clinics completed surveys about their knowledge, past use and likelihood of using EC. Chi square (χ2) and regression analyses assessed gender differences in knowledge and attitudes.
Results Women were more likely than men to accurately answer questions about EC and its use. Across both sexes, accurate knowledge predicted future willingness to use EC. Only half the women and a third of men knew that EC could be directly dispensed by pharmacists; even fewer knew that the legal access age for EC was 17 years (13%) or that men could access EC from pharmacies for their female partners (24%). Although respondents most commonly reported that friends were their source of current information about EC, both men and women chose health care professionals as their desired source of future information about EC.
Conclusions Young men in this sample were significantly less knowledgeable than young women about EC. Educating young men about EC by health care providers during routine visits may be a unique opportunity to increase EC knowledge, access and use among low-income young couples to decrease undesired pregnancies.
- Emergency Contraception
- Morning-After Pill
- Postcoital Contraception
- Male Adolescents
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