Original article| Volume 23, ISSUE 4, e257-e263, July 2013

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Knowledge and Attitudes about Long-Acting Reversible Contraception Among Latina Women Who Desire Sterilization



      There is growing interest in increasing the use of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), and suggestions that such methods may serve as an alternative to sterilization. However, there is little information about whether women who do not want more children would be interested in using LARC.


      We conducted semistructured interviews with 120 parous Latina women in El Paso, Texas, who wanted a sterilization but had not obtained one. We assessed women's awareness of and interest in using the copper intrauterine device (IUD), levonorgestrel intrauterine system (LNG-IUS), and etonogestrel implant.


      Overall, 51%, 23%, and 47% of women reported they had heard of the copper IUD, LNG-IUS, and implant, respectively. More women stated they would use the copper IUD (24%) than the LNG-IUS (14%) or implant (9%). Among women interested in LARC, the most common reasons were that, relative to their current method, LARC methods were more convenient, effective, and provided longer-term protection against pregnancy. Those who had reservations about LARC were primarily concerned with menstrual changes. Women also had concerns about side effects and the methods' effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, preferring to use a familiar method.


      Although these findings indicate many Latina women in this setting do not consider LARC an alternative to sterilization, they point to an existing demand among some who wish to end childbearing. Efforts are needed to improve women's knowledge and access to a range of methods so they can achieve their childbearing goals.
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      Kari White, PhD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor in Health Care Organization and Policy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her research focuses on immigrant women's reproductive health, with an emphasis on contraceptive attitudes and access.


      Kristine Hopkins, PhD, is a Research Assistant Professor of Sociology and Faculty Research Associate at the Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on reproductive health issues in Texas, the United States–Mexico border, and Latin America.


      Joseph E. Potter, PhD, is a Professor of Sociology and Faculty Research Associate at the Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin. His work focuses on issues related to population and reproductive health in the United States and Latin America.


      Daniel Grossman, MD, is Vice President for Research at Ibis Reproductive Health. His work focuses on improving access to contraception and safe abortion in the United States, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa.