Barrier versus oral contraceptive use: A study of female college students

Susan M. Radius, Alain Joffe, Marilyn J. Gall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Although they provide birth control and are easier to use, oral contraceptives (OCPs) are not the preferred approach to preventing sexually transmitted disease (STD). Do the knowledge, attitudes, and experiences of oral contraceptive users place them at greater risk for STDs than those who employ barrier methods? This study examined differences between sexually active female college students (ie, those who reported ever having had vaginal intercourse) who used OCPs and those who employed barrier methods of contraception at the time of their most recent intercourse. The authors analyzed HIV- and other STD-related knowlege, attitudes, and behaviors from three consecutive annual health surveys of young women about to begin their fist year of college. Findings showed barrier and OCP users to be comparable in knowledge about the effectiveness of various contraceptive methods in protecting them against STDs, perceived personal susceptibility to HIV, and experiences with alcohol before sexual intercourse. Oral contraceptive users, compared with those in the group who used barrier methods, reported a greater number of recent partners (p <.03) and greater perceived vulnerability to STDs (p <.03). Student healthcare providers must develop creative educational strategies to encourage simultaneous use of both oral contraceptives and barrier methods to protect students against STDs and pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-85
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of the American College Health Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1991


  • AIDS
  • Barrier methods
  • Birth control methods
  • Health beliefs
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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