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PURPOSE: To describe young people's knowledge and use of contraceptive services over initial stages of England's Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, and to investigate factors associated with use of different services. METHODS: A random location sample of young people aged 13-21 years (n = 8879) was interviewed in 12 waves over 2000-2004. Individual data were analysed to investigate factors associated with knowledge and use of contraceptive services and to observe trends over time. Area-level data were analyzed to explore differences in key variables. RESULTS: In all, 77% of young women and 65% of young men surveyed knew a service they could use to obtain information about sex. Amongst those who had had vaginal sexual intercourse, the most common source of contraceptive supplies was general practice for young women (54%) and commercial venues for young men (54%). Young women's use of school-based services to obtain supplies increased significantly from 15.4% in Year 1 to 24.4% in Year 4, p < .001. Young men's use of the commercial sector declined significantly over the same time period (60.3% to 50.6%, p = .002), while their use of general practice and family planning clinics increased (from 8.9% to 12.4%, p = .008, and 21.2% to 29.1%, p = .054, respectively). Use of family planning clinics and designated young people's clinics was associated with first vaginal intercourse before the 16th birthday and living in a deprived area. CONCLUSIONS: Young people's patterns of contraceptive service use have changed since implementation of the Strategy; although no increase in overall service use was observed. The contribution of school-based services needs further exploration.

Original publication




Journal article


J Adolesc Health

Publication Date





594 - 601


Adolescent, Adult, Age Factors, Contraceptive Agents, Contraceptive Devices, England, Family Planning Services, Female, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Health Services Accessibility, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Male, Poverty Areas, Pregnancy, Pregnancy in Adolescence, School Health Services, Sexual Behavior