Well, there’s good news and bad news. First, the good. A recent Guttmacher Institute analysis of a 2009 study on 18-29-year-olds in the United States found that the more people know about contraception, the better they are at preventing accidental pregnancy.* Women who got more correct answers on a quiz about birth control were more likely to use an effective birth control method like the IUD, the implant, the shot, the pill, the patch, or the ring.
Now the bad: More than a quarter of women (27%) scored a D or an F on the quiz, as did fully 60% of guys. Folks with these low scores were more likely to use no birth control at all—even though they wanted to prevent pregnancy—and they also said it was likely they’d have unprotected sex in the next few months. If knowledge matters and so many young U.S. adults are lacking it, it helps explain why our rates of unplanned pregnancy are so high compared to other countries.
The analysis also concluded that folks who have a better attitude about birth control are more likely to use it consistently and effectively. It may sound obvious, but it’s good to be sure that knowledge and attitudes matter—even if there’s room for improvement on both counts. And it’s pretty much the best argument for Bedsider and our fellow birth control resources that we can think of.
*Full disclosure: the analysis, which was published in the June edition of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, used data from a study supported by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the organization that created and runs Bedsider.