OBJECTIVE: To assess the need for, and potential uptake of, a contraceptive service within a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic. METHODS: 544 women, median age 17 years (range 13-54) including 142 teenagers, attending the Fife GUM clinics serving a semirural population of 350,000 for the first time in the 12 month period from 1 September 1995 to 31 August 1996 were interviewed. RESULTS: Contraception was required by 353, of whom only 5% (29) were at risk of unplanned pregnancy, although half (15) of these were teenagers. 23 of 29 (79%) stated that they would access contraception at a GUM clinic if it were available. Of women using contraception, 67% (217/324) were taking the oral contraceptive pill (OCP), of whom 177 obtained supplies from their general practitioners and were happy with this. However, 92/177 (52%) stated that they would access the OCP at GUM clinics if it were available. Overall, of the 243 women who stated that they would access contraception at the GUM clinic, 23 of whom were currently at risk of an unplanned pregnancy, the demand was principally for condoms and the OCP. CONCLUSION: The majority of women attending GUM clinics for the first time are using contraception, or have deliberately chosen not to do so. Only 5% were at risk of unplanned pregnancy. In general, the women using contraception were happy with their current source of contraception, but about two thirds would use a contraceptive service at GUM clinics if it were available at the time they were attending the clinic. It was found that teenagers accounted for half of those women at risk of unwanted pregnancy. However, the majority of teenagers requiring contraception would consider obtaining it from GUM clinics.
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