Reaching the hard to reach

Martha Campbell
Malcolm Potts
Pouru Bhiwandi

PIP: The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development proposed increasing contraceptive couple protection from 550 million in 1995 to 880 million in 2015. The task for family planning (FP) programs is to provide access to services for, sometimes, inaccessible rural populations. FP need based on desire for no more children has ranged from under 20% in Senegal to almost 80% in Peru. Socioeconomic development was found not to be a prerequisite for fertility change. Gender inequalities in education and social autonomy must be changed. FP access is very important among women with...

Safety implications of transferring the oral contraceptive from prescription-only to over-the-counter status

Malcolm Potts
Colleen Denny

The idea of making oral contraceptives available without prescription has a long history, and has been recently revived in the US and the UK. High dose oral contraceptives have generally been replaced by low dose formulations and, subsequently, most cardiovascular risks have been reduced and a protection against ovarian and uterine cancers has been consistently demonstrated. Oral contraceptive compliance, however, continues to be a problem, but there is no reason to assume that wise practice would be any more or less if oral contraceptives were available over-the-counter (OTC). Some...

The myth of a male pill

Malcolm Potts

This article discusses progress and limitations in developing a male birth control pill

Published in Nature Medicine 2, 398 – 399 (1996)

Download PDF, click here.

Making family planning accessible in resource-poor settings

Ndola Prata

It is imperative to make family planning more accessible in low resource settings. The poorest couples have the highest fertility, the lowest contraceptive use and the highest unmet need for contraception. It is also in the low resource settings where maternal and child mortality is the highest. Family planning can contribute to improvements in maternal and child health, especially in low resource settings where overall access to health services is limited. Four critical steps should be taken to increase access to family planning in resource-poor settings: (i) increase knowledge...

Two pills, two paths: a tale of gender bias

Malcolm Potts

In Japan, it took over 30 years to register the contraceptive Pill, but it took only six months to approve Viagra. The Pill was developed in an academic institution and no large pharmaceutical manufacturer wished to market it. Viagra was developed inside a big company and actively promoted. In the USA, the Pill was almost removed from the market because of widely publicized reports of deaths, but mortalities associated with Viagra do not make the headlines. Viagra has been promoted by the famous, whilst those who use the Pill do not appear in advertisements. Even theologians have treated...

Partner reduction is crucial for balanced “ABC” approach to HIV prevention

James D Shelton
Daniel T Halperin
Vinand Nantulya
Malcolm Potts
Helene D Gayle
King K Holmes

Behaviour change programmes to prevent HIV have mainly promoted condom use or abstinence, while partner reduction remains the neglected component of ABC

The key to preventing the spread of HIV, especially in epidemics driven mainly by heterosexual transmission, is through changing sexual behaviour. Interest has been growing in an “ABC” approach in which A stands for abstinence or delay of sexual activity, B for be faithful, and C for condom use. Although “be faithful” literally implies monogamy, it also includes reductions incasual sex and multiple sexual partnerships (and related...

Why Can’t a Man Be More Like a Woman? Sex, Power, and Politics

Malcolm Potts

Conflicts between male and female reproductive agendas continue to play out in contemporary issues of sex, power, and politics. Viewing gender through the lens of biologic evolutionary psychology reveals persistent con- troversies surrounding women’s rights. The history of oral contraceptives com- pared with that of erectile dysfunction drugs is just one example of the disparity between female and male reproductive choices. Contraceptives, maternal mortality, abortion, and domestic violence are issues directly influenced by politics, religion, and gender biases. Ultimately, everything that...

Gender and Relationship Differences in Condom Use Among 15-24-Year-Olds in Angola

Ndola Prata
Farnaz Vahidnia
Ashley Frase

CONTEXT: The sexual behavior of young people in Angola will play a major role in the future spread of HIV, yet few young people use condoms consistently, and reported rates of condom use are low. It is important to identify determinants of condom use among Angolan adolescents and young adults.

METHODS:Data for analysis came from 1,995 sexually experienced youth aged 15–24 who participated in a 2001 knowledge, attitudes and practices survey in Luanda, Angola. Logistic regression analysis was performed to identify predictors of consistent condom use by gender and determinants of...

The pill is mightier than the sword

Martha Campbell
Malcolm Potts

San Francisco Chronicle: Open Forum

The Bush administration intends to cut the modest funding the United States gives to international family planning by almost one-fifth. For those of us who are interested in looking 15 to 20 years ahead, this is the dumbest action possible.

The Sept. 11 commission report is explicit: “a large, steadily increasing population of young men without any reasonable expectation of suitable or steady employment [is] a sure prescription for social turbulence.” Every day on TV, we can see that it is predominantly young men who join...

Consumer behaviour and contraceptive decisions: resolving a decades-long puzzle

Martha Campbell

Introduction: Demographers’ theoretical explanations for fertility decline have been based for decades on an assumption that couples make family size decisions influenced by a changing balance between costs and benefits of childbearing, resulting in parents’ reduced demand for children. It has been widely assumed that these decisions are based on changes in social or economic factors, such as increased education, wealth or economic opportunities, or urbanisation, or other related factors in their lives. However, a number of situations in developing countries have been documented showing...