Almea Matanock

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Background: Family planning has enormous societal, economic, and interpersonal implications. The United States, NM is no exception, has a much higher rate of unintended pregnancies (50%) than other developed countries. This is associated with poor health outcomes for the mother and the child. Emergency contraception (EC) provides a safe back up method. NM had tried to increase access to EC by licensing pharmacists to dispense it without a prescription. In addition, the FDA agreed to make it OTC for people >18 years old. Objective: To assess young adults knowledge and access to EC in the Albuquerque area. Our goal is that this information will provide a better understanding of EC use in this population and thereby make EC more available. Methods: Anonymous, self-report, survey administered in university classrooms to individuals who were 18-25 years old and willing to participate. Results: Total 339 participants (female 199, male 140). The majority knew about EC and that it was available (95% and 96% respectively). However where it could be obtained and what exactly it was seemed unclear for the majority of participants. These results did not change based on age. Participants who discussed EC with their HCP were more likely to have used EC (p<0.0001) and know that it was different from 'the abortion pill' (p=0.005). In total 33% of female participants had used EC. Women who had used EC were only slightly more likely to know that EC was available directly from a pharmacist (Fisher's Exact Test p=0.01). Otherwise, their responses were statistically similar to the other participants. Summary: Emergency contraception is a valuable tool in the arsenal of socially, economically, and individually important campaign of family planning. Young adults' knowledge about EC has improved in some areas (availability from pharmacist, OCT, and the distinction between it and RU 486). Despite the change in status to OTC, public health and Planned Parenthood clinics are still the most common access point. Further study to assess the access of individuals <18 years old, actual use when women have EC on hand, and its correlation with conception is recommended. Lastly, HCP should to continue to inform patients about EC to be used as it was intended —as Plan B for when Plan A —a consistent, reliable, birth control method fails.'