Blog: Recent Research
Recent Research: March 2012 Print

Here are a few relevant articles about adolescent reproductive and sexual health, retrieved on March 29, 2012. Find more statistics, research, and reports in Advocates for Youth’s research guides.


Knowledge of Medication Abortion Among Adolescent Medicine Providers (Journal of Adolescent Health)

Researchers surveyed adolescent medicine providers in the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine to determine knowledge about medication abortion.  “Almost 25% of respondents incorrectly believed that medication abortion was not very safe, 40% misidentified that it was < 95% effective, and 32% did not select the correct maximum recommended gestational age (7–9 weeks). Providers had difficulty identifying that serious complications of medication abortion are rare. Those who counseled on medication abortion had more accurate information in all knowledge categories, except for expected outcomes. Only 32% of respondents had very good knowledge, and self-assessed knowledge minimally predicted actual knowledge (r2 = .08).”  Better education on medication abortion is recommended.


Patterns and Correlates of Parental and Formal Sexual and Reproductive Health Communication for Adolescent Women in the United States, 2002–2008 (Journal of Adolescent Health)

Researchers examined the National Survey of Family Growth to learn about parental communication, and formal communication (i.e. a sex education or prevention program) on sexual and reproductive health among young women ages 15-19.  “Seventy-five percent of adolescent women had received parental communication on abstinence (60%), contraception (56%), sexually transmitted infections (53%), and condoms (29%); 9% received abstinence-only communication. Formal communication (92%) included abstinence (87%) and contraceptive (71%) information; 66% received both, whereas 21% received abstinence-only.”  Overall, parental communication around sex had increased, while there was no increase in formal communication around sex.


Cost-Utility Analysis of A Female Condom Promotion Program in Washington, DC. (AIDS and Behavior)

Researchers analyzed the cost-effectiveness of DC’s female condom distribution program.  The program distributed 200,000 condoms at a cost of $414k.  An estimated 23 HIV infections were prevented, which because of the high cost of treating HIV, rendered the program highly cost effective. Read a Washington Post article about the study


Recent Trauma is Associated with Antiretroviral Failure and HIV Transmission Risk Behavior Among HIV-Positive Women and Female-Identified Transgenders (AIDS and Behavior)

This study examined data from a “prevention with positives” program “to understand if socio-economic, behavioral, and health-related factors are associated with antiretroviral failure and HIV transmission-risk behaviors among 113 HIV-positive biological and transgender women. Compared to participants without recent trauma, participants reporting recent trauma had over four-times the odds of antiretroviral failure and over three-times the odds of reporting sex with an HIV-negative or unknown serostatus partner and <100% condom use with these partners.   Researchers conclude that women who have experienced sexual and physical abuse, and other forms of trauma,  are likelier to engage in risk behavior and experience anti-retroviral failure (that is, not get HIV drugs for whatever reason). In a Voice of America article he noted that “trauma is the key to the HIV epidemic”,  and that trauma was more common among HIV+ women than non HIV+ women.   He recommended that screening and treatment for trauma be a routine part of HIV care.


Health Care Provider Attitudes and Practices Related to Intrauterine Devices for Nulliparous Women (Obstetrics and Gynecology)

Researchers surveyed questionnaire data from office-based and Title X clinic  providers (physicians, physician assistants, certified nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, and nurses) to determine knowledge and attitudes around the IUD and prescription to women who have not yet had children.  “Approximately 30% of respondents had misconceptions about the safety of IUDs for nulliparous women. More than 60% of providers infrequently provided IUDs to nulliparous women.”  Reasons providers did not provide IUDs included nonavailability on site, and concerns about safety. Office-based practitioners were likelier to have misconceptions about the IUD than Title X clinic practitioners. Read a Reuters article on the study


Characteristics of African American Adolescent Females Who Perceive Their Current Boyfriends Have Concurrent Sexual Partners (Journal of Adolescent Health)

Researchers surveyed young African American women at STD clinics to determine if they believed their boyfriend had a current sexual partner; 27% answered yes.   Believing a boyfriend had a concurrent partner was associated with less relationship power, less relationship commitment, and previous STD diagnoses.  The study contradicts the idea that a “one size fits all” approach to sex education is appropriate.  Authors suggest that results can inform prevention interventions by highlighting the need for education about relationship dynamics and about “ the increased HIV/STD risks associated with having a boyfriend with concurrent sex partners.”


The Opt-In Revolution? Contraception and the Gender Gap in Wages (National Bureau of Economic Research)

“This paper explores the role of “the Pill” in altering women’s human capital investments and its ultimate implications for life-cycle wages. Using state-by-birth-cohort variation in legal access to contraception, we show that younger access to the Pill conferred an 8-percent hourly wage premium by age fifty. Our estimates imply that the Pill can account for 10 percent of the convergence of the gender gap in the 1980s and 30 percent in the 1990s.”  Read a Huffington Post article on the study


Pharmacy Communication to Adolescents and Their Physicians Regarding Access to Emergency Contraception (Pediatrics)

This study about pharmacist provision of information about emergency contraception, received widespread media attention this week. A consumer must request EC at the pharmacy counter, but a significant number of pharmacists provide incorrect information about it.  “By using standardized scripts, female callers telephoned 943 pharmacies in 5 US cities posing as 17-year-old adolescents or as physicians calling on behalf of their 17-year-old patients. …Seven hundred fifty-nine pharmacies (80%) indicated to adolescent callers, and 766 (81%) to physician callers, that EC was available on the day of the call. However, 145 pharmacies (19%) incorrectly told the adolescent callers that it would be impossible to obtain EC under any circumstances, compared with 23 pharmacies (3%) for physician callers. Pharmacies conveyed the correct age to dispense EC without a prescription in 431 adolescent calls (57%) and 466 physician calls (61%).”   Read a Time article about the study


Patterns of Disclosure Among Youth Who Are HIV-Positive: A Multisite Study (Journal of Adolescent Health)

This study examined HIV status disclosure among HIV positive young people. “Forty percent of participants reported a sexual relationship with a partner to whom they had not disclosed their serostatus. Participants with multiple sexual partners were less likely to disclose their serostatus than those with one partner. Disclosure was more frequent when the serostatus of the sexual partner was known. Disclosure was not associated with unprotected sex.”   Researchers recommend prevention initiatives should focus on both disclosure and condom use in this high-risk population.


Sensation Seeking and Impulsivity: Combined Associations with Risky Sexual Behavior in a Large Sample of Young Adults (Journal of Sex Research)

This article examined 2 processes in brain, sensation seeking and impulsivity, among adolescents, to discover if and how these contribute to sexual risk taking behaviors.  From the abstract:   “Regression modeling indicated that both sensation seeking and impulsive decision-making were consistently associated with sexual risk behaviors across 11 risk-related outcomes. Results further indicated that sensation seeking and impulsive decision-making operated synergistically with respect to the outcome variables of sex acts using drugs, acts with a partner using alcohol, and acts with a partner using drugs. In contrast to this, sensation seeking and impulsive decision-making operated independently with respect to the other sexual risk outcomes.“  The article contributes to the growing body of work around adolescent brain development and its contribution to sexual risk behavior.

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