Periodic abstinence in developing countries: an assessment of failure rates and consequences
ABSTRACT It is estimated that 27 million couples, representing 2.6% of all couples in the reproductive span, use periodic abstinence (PA). Using data from 15 national surveys in low and middle-income countries, this article assesses characteristics of PA users, knowledge of the fertile period, accidental conceptions while using PA and the reproductive consequences of these conceptions. Current users of PA (predominantly the simple calendar variant) tend to be more educated and urban than users of other methods. The method is preferred by young single women and older married women. The proportion of users with correct knowledge of the timing of ovulation ranges from 8% to 91%, with a median value of 62%. The median 12-month gross failure rate was 24 per 100 episodes. Net of other predictors of failure, correct knowledge of the timing of ovulation was associated with a 12% decrease in failure probabilities. Couples who experienced PA failure were more likely than couples who experienced failure with another method to carry the pregnancy to term. Nevertheless, PA still contributes to one-sixth of all abortions (or miscarriages) following contraceptive failure.
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The trends in contraceptive uptake and condom use among single and married young women show distinct patterns in sub-Saharan Africa. A large median increase of 1.4 percentage points per year in condom use by single young women for pregnancy prevention was witnessed in 18 countries based on Demographic and Health Survey data from 1993 to 2001. In contrast, a modest increase in condom use was noted for married or cohabiting young women. Condom promotion in Africa has been, therefore, a success for single women. Its promotion for pregnancy prevention offers even greater potential, as pregnancy prevention is the main or partial motive of most single women who use condoms. While a myriad of research studies on condom use among young single people have been conducted and published, the needs of the married and cohabiting population have been neglected by researchers and programme staff alike, despite the fact that more than half of HIV infections in the severe epidemics of Southern and East Africa are occurring in this group. The barriers to condom adoption by married couples may not be as severe as is often assumed.