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Individual, partner, and community variables associated with method-specific contraceptive beliefs in urban and rural Kenya.

Contraception 2024 April 18
OBJECTIVES -: Global unmet need for contraception remains high. Contraceptive health-related beliefs are a barrier to contraceptive use but are poorly understood. This study examined quantitative differences in two health-related beliefs between pills, injectables and implants.

STUDY DESIGN -: We used cross-sectional baseline data collected between August-December 2016 from Nairobi (urban) and Homa Bay (rural) Kenya among women aged 15-39 years (N=5081). Dichotomous outcome variables were constructed for two health-related beliefs (infertility and serious health problems) for the three methods. Using a socio-ecological framework, possible risk factors at individual, relationship, and community levels were identified a priori. We used logistic regression to identify factors associated with method-specific beliefs.

RESULTS -: Roughly a quarter of participants believed the methods caused serious health problems, while a smaller overall proportion believed the methods caused infertility. Risk factors patterned similarly across methods but differed between beliefs. In adjusted models, perceived partner approval of a method was associated with lower odds of believing it caused infertility or serious health problems. Unsatisfactory or mixed social network experiences predicted serious health problems but not infertility beliefs. Current use was associated with lower odds of believing all three methods caused serious health problems, but only implant users were more likely to believe they caused infertility. Past use was associated with higher odds of serious health problems but not infertility beliefs.

CONCLUSION -: Across three methods, negative community and perceived partner attitudes towards specific contraceptive methods were associated with higher individual-level odds of contraceptive health beliefs in Kenya.

IMPLICATIONS: Efforts to support women who want to use contraception should focus on providing information on contraceptive health and fertility concerns, ideally targeting partners and women of all ages in addition to potential contraceptive users. It is reasonable to address these concerns broadly across commonly used contraceptive methods.

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