Contraception and Sexual Health: Qualitative research
Market research results
The higher rates of unplanned pregnancy and STIs in North East Lincs (NEL) are partly reflective of the greater incidence of deprivation and lower educational achievement than the national average. This is even more marked within the more deprived wards of the County.
- Prioritise the most deprived areas and communities for campaigns about the use of contraception and knowledge of STIs.
- To make greater use of statistical analysis to inform such targeting.
Around a third of all those interviewed could not name any STI at all. There is a lack of awareness of the full range of contraceptive methods beyond condoms and the combined pill.
In contrast there is good awareness about the sort of places to go to obtain advice on contraception and STIs especially GPs and Clinics, although less knowledge of the actual locations. 16-17 year olds also have higher rates of knowledge of other sources of advice, such as Choices, and the youth bus and MASH services.
However, there are concerns about negative attitudes of some staff within these services. Further, there is concern that GP’s do not see it as part of their remit to offer advice and information. There are also dilemmas for staff and clients with particular religious or ethical beliefs regarding sex and contraception.
- An area-wide campaign with comprehensive information about all methods of contraception, STIs and treatment.
- Provision of training to all health professionals about the wider range of STIs, treatment methods and patient counselling.
- Audit policies for gender and religious sensitivity.
Access and supply
There are widespread demands by local people for more access to advice and clinics out of normal working hours both in evenings and weekends. Some are not aware of how to obtain free condoms, and these is a deterrent to use for some. Wider availability is also suggested, e.g. clothes shops, cinemas, which would be preferred by some to supermarkets or chemists.
- Open clinics outside ‘normal’ working hours.
- Encourage a wider spread of condom supply outlets.
- Publicise the availability of free condoms
One of the key findings from the research is the issue of embarrassment. For many people of all ages this outweighs all other issues in explaining the non-use of contraception especially for STI protection.
Parents of teenagers are interested in co-operating and receiving more information from schools about sex education.
There are high rates of awareness of recent campaigns. Younger people are more aware than older age groups.
In terms of the medium; radio, cinema and internet are preferred to press or leaflets, especially by young people. However, all media channels are supported, and more pamphlets are needed in GPs surgeries.
The wording of publicity material is criticised as too dense and lacking explicit graphic diagrams especially about STIs.
Finally, there are specific cultural attitudes to sexual behaviour centred on a partial acceptance of teenage pregnancy in some sections of the community.
- Rebalance the focus of professional work in favour of suggesting ways of overcoming embarrassment.
- Ensure that schools improve co-operation with parents about the content of sex education.
- Customise central NHS template materials for different sexes, ages and local circumstances.
- Simplify information with less words and more graphics.
- Make greater use of visual media.
Social marketing strategy
Ten social marketing ‘types’ have been identified from the research. These types are:
- Middle aged people (44-59)
- Parents of children and young people (30-44)
- Single people (30-44)
- Twenty-something men (25-29)
- Twenty-something women (25-29)
- Young men (16-24)
- Young women (16-24)
- Young men from hot spot wards (16-24)
- Young women from hot spot wards(16-24)
- Single parents (16-24)
Section B (of the report) details the characteristics, media preferences and recommended interventions for each of these groups.
- Identify current levels of knowledge and understanding, reasons for not using contraception and attitudes to sexual health.
- Use the research results to inform social marketing communications.
North East Lincolnshire Care Trust Plus (NEL CTP) area has a low level of knowledge about contraception and sexual health and a lower level of contraceptive uptake than nationally.
Research was required to identifying current levels of knowledge and understanding, reasons for not using contraception and attitudes to sexual health. In turn these results would be used to inform social marketing communications.
Research to identify current levels of knowledge and understanding, reasons for not using contraception and attitudes to sexual health. The results to be used to inform social marketing communications.
Mixed (No quota on ethnicity. See appendix 1 of report for actual breakdown)
- Desk research to assess national data on sexual health and contraception in NEL
- Interviews with NHS staff
- 600 interviews conducted, recruited in public places across NEL. Interviews included a qualitative element, and lasted around 30 mins in total.
- 3x discussion groups (with young people 16-24, older single people 30-59, and parents of teenagers) to explore the issues emerging from the survey
- Survey: 600
- 3x focus groups (group size not specified)
- Interviews with NHS staff (sample size not specified)
All wards in North East Lincolnshire
Not specified. (Report dated June 2009)