Intrauterine contraception: why are so few Australian women using this effective method?

Deborah Bateson, Caroline Harvey, Julia Williams and Kirsten I Black
Med J Aust 2011; 194 (6): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2011.tb02988.x
Published online: 21 March 2011

To the Editor: The recent article by Lewis and colleagues highlights the important role of long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) in reducing unintended pregnancy in Australian teenagers.1 LARCs are defined as contraceptives that are administered less than monthly and include hormonal implants and injections, and intrauterine devices (IUDs).2 The critical importance of improving access to LARC methods has been recognised in the United Kingdom by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence, which produced guidelines for implementing this policy in 2005.2 The United States has recently followed this lead. In 2009, expanding access to intrauterine devices and other LARCs, particularly for younger women, was declared a national public health priority by the US Institute of Medicine.3

  • 1 Family Planning New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Family Planning Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 3 University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.


Competing interests:

Family Planning NSW and Family Planning Queensland have received support from Bayer Schering Pharma to develop an IUD-insertion training program.

  • 1. Lewis LN, Doherty DA, Hickey M, Skinner SR. Predictors of sexual intercourse and rapid-repeat pregnancy among teenage mothers: an Australian prospective longitudinal study. Med J Aust 2010; 193: 338-342. <MJA full text>
  • 2. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Long-acting reversible contraception. London: NICE, 2005.
  • 3. Institute of Medicine (United States). Initial national priorities for comparative effectiveness research. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2009.
  • 4. Richters J, Grulich AE, de Visser RO, et al. Sex in Australia: contraceptive practices among a representative sample of women. Aust N Z J Public Health 2003; 27: 210-216.
  • 5. Bajos N, Leridon H, Goulard H, et al. Contraception: from accessibility to efficiency. Hum Reprod 2003; 18: 994-999.
  • 6. World Health Organization. Medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use, fourth edition 2009. Geneva: WHO, 2010.


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