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LARCs are underutilized, even where Zika risk is high.

SAN DIEGO -- Few women living in an area at potential risk for local Zika virus infection are using the most effective contraceptive measures.

Educating providers on the why and how of placing the most effective contraceptive measures could make a big difference, said Diana Ramos, MD, of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Los Angeles County is responsible for about one-quarter of the births in the state of California, with 131,000 live births annually. Additionally, Los Angeles County has been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of the seven jurisdictions most at risk for local Zika virus transmission in the United States.

Los Angeles--area health care providers and public health officials are bracing themselves for a summer mosquito population explosion brought on by the West Coast's very wet winter and spring of 2016-2017, setting up the very real possibility of local transmission in the Los Angeles area in the summer of 2017, Dr. Ramos said at the annual clinical and scientific meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The investigators drew from the Los Angeles Mommy and Baby (LAMB) project, a population-based survey of women who have recently given birth. A total of 3,175 women were queried in 2014 about their current family planning.

Overall, 28% of women said that they were not using any form of birth control. The remaining women (n = 2,400) used a variety of methods, with condoms being the most common (38.1%). Oral contraceptives were used by 15.6% of respondents, but nearly as many (14.8%) reported using the withdrawal method, and 6.1% said they used the rhythm method. An additional 15% reported that either they or their partner had undergone a permanent sterilization procedure; 14.5% were using intrauterine devices, and 6.1% were using depot medroxyprogesterone acetate. These two methods of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) represent some of the most effective methods to prevent conception, Dr. Ramos said.

Her department is working to expand awareness of the high efficacy rates and good safety profiles of LARCs, and also to educate the public that "the most effective contraceptive methods can decrease neonatal Zika complications by preventing unplanned pregnancies." The hope, Dr. Ramos said, is to decrease the number of neonatal Zika cases.

Dr. Ramos and her coauthors reported no external sources of funding and no conflicts of interest.

BY KARI OAKES

AT ACOG 2017

koakes@frontlinemedcom.com

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Title Annotation:WOMEN'S HEALTH
Author:Oakes, Kari
Publication:Family Practice News
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Jun 15, 2017
Words:407
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