Researcher Jennifer Frost, DrPH, with the Guttmacher Institute in New York, analyzed data from women ages 15 to 44 who were surveyed as part of the National Survey of Family Growth. Information collected in 1995 from 10,847 women was compared with data on 7,643 women in 2002.
The findings are published in the October issue of the American Journal of Public Health.
Women were asked whether they had received 13 sexual and reproductive health care services from a doctor or from other medical care providers in the year prior to the interviews. Services included birth control prescriptions and counseling, pregnancy tests , Pap tests, prenatal and postpartum care, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
The percentage of women who received contraceptive services increased from 36% in 1995 to 41% in 2002. Frost writes that the increase mainly occurred in adolescents, women older than 30, and women with household incomes greater than 150% of the federal poverty level.
In 2002, 74% of women interviewed said they got at least one sexual or reproductive health care service in the year before. That's similar to results from 1995, when 72% of respondents said they received at least one sexual-care or reproductive-care service.
Frost writes that since the mid-1990s there have been changes on the birth control front, with more demand for contraceptive services and insurance more often covering the cost of birth control.
By Kelley Colihan
Reviewed by Louise Chang
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