Provision of contraceptive and related services by publicly funded family planning clinics, 2003

Laura Duberstein Lindberg, Jennifer J Frost, Caroline Sten, Cynthia Dailard
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 2006, 38 (3): 139-47

CONTEXT: In addition to contraceptive services, publicly funded family planning clinics provide low-income women with a range of reproductive diagnostic, treatment and educational services. Nationally representative information about the scope of services available from clinics is needed to formulate policy and programmatic recommendations.

METHODS: In 2003, more than 1,000 U.S. clinics responded to an eight-page survey on service availability and clinic policies. Differences in the proportions of clinics reporting each service or policy were examined by clinic type and receipt of Title X funding.

RESULTS: Nearly all clinics offer pills, injectables and condoms; 75% offer the patch; and 80% offer emergency contraception. Most clinics (73%) typically use a conventional Pap smear for initial cervical cancer screenings; 27% use liquid-based Pap tests. For follow-up, 68% of clinics use liquid-based or other advanced testing. Virtually all clinics screen at least some clients for chlamydia; Planned Parenthood and Title X-funded clinics, more than others, tend to focus screening efforts on sexually active women aged 25 and younger. Single-dose treatments are provided by 58% of clinics. Nine in 10 clinics offer HIV testing on-site, most of them to any client who requests it. Services targeted to specific populations include counseling about abstinence for minors (91%); non-reproductive health services for men (36%); and availability of staff such as translators (81%) and bilingual administrative (59%) or clinical personnel (57%) for non-English-speaking clients.

CONCLUSIONS: More public funding is imperative for clinics to keep up with the demands of new technologies and a diverse client base.

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