Rubber up? Nah! Condoms decline in popularity as North West’s sexually active opt for long-lasting contraception

By Alex Lanigan

The condom is falling out of fashion as the primary choice of contraception for visitors to community clinics in the North West, according to statistics.

The research, released on October 31 by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, revealed that less than 20% of the 170,000 people who attended NHS community contraception clinics in the North West use condoms.

This represents a fall of 5% since last year when almost a quarter of visitors who attended the clinics used condoms as their primary form of contraception.

The use of oral contraceptives such as the pill has continued to grow in its use, with a steady increase of 2% over each of the past two years.

It is believed that the rise in popularity may be linked to the increase in numbers of people attending the clinics, with Manchester Brook having 20% more people visiting the clinic.

Paul Eastwood, who compiled the report, said: “Our data only deals with people who are dealing with NHS community contraception clinics and it is important to recognise that contraception is also available via other methods such as a GP and many can now be bought over the counter.”

Manchester Brook saw a jump from 10,000 visitors in 2011/2012 to 12,900 in 2012/13 and it is believed that women are now favouring longer lasting contraception when they visit the clinics.

With the use of condoms decreasing as the form of primary contraception, the use of Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC) such as the implant or injection has increased from 27% in 2011/12 to 32% in 2012/13.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “Contraception is the best way to avoid unintended pregnancy and STIs and we’re pleased to see that there were more than two million attendances across the country at these services last year.

“Teenage pregnancies are at their lowest level for 40 years. A minority of under-16s are sexually active, and it is important that they get good advice about contraception and preventing STIs and discuss issues around coercion and abuse.”

Another trend from the data shows that the percentage of patients who opt to use LARC’s as the primary form of contraception increases as the age groups get older.

Only 17% of under-15s opt for this form of contraception as opposed to 44% of the patients aged 35 and over.

Picture courtesy of Flegmus via Flickr, with thanks.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.

Related Articles