October 24, 2014 — This week's visuals include a look at the public savings and health benefits of U.S. investments in family planning services, as well as graphics examining the impact of expanded contraceptive access for teens and the link between HIV and intimate partner violence.
Publicly Funded Family Planning Improves Health, Saves Money
Publicly funded family planning services in the U.S. improve women's health in myriad ways and net billions of dollars in savings in public funds, as shown in a new infographic from the Guttmacher Institute.
In addition to providing contraceptive services that help millions of women avoid unintended pregnancies, space their births and reduce the need for abortion, the U.S. publicly funded family planning program supports testing for sexually transmitted infections that help avert additional cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV, according to Guttmacher's research. Further, Pap testing and vaccination against the human papillomavirus at publicly funded family planning clinics prevent thousands of cervical cancer cases and deaths each year (Guttmacher release, 10/14).
LARC Access Tied To Fewer Teen Pregnancies
A study that provided teens with information about long-acting reversible contraceptives and offered them no-cost access to the methods led to substantial reductions in pregnancy, birth and abortion rates, as depicted in this graph from The Guardian.
LARC methods -- like intrauterine devices and hormonal implants -- have much lower failure rates than birth control pills and condoms, but only a small proportion of adolescents use LARC. By contrast, 72% of study participants chose LARC methods after learning about them and being offered no-cost access.
The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and is part of the Contraceptive CHOICE Project, a four-year research project following thousands of women in the St. Louis area (Popovich, The Guardian, 10/3).
HIV, Intimate Partner Violence and the ACA
According to a KFF issue brief, women's risk factors for contracting HIV often are "similar to those that make them vulnerable to experiencing trauma and IPV." This contributes to a dangerous cycle in which women who experience IPV face a higher risk for contracting HIV and HIV-positive women are at higher risk for experiencing IPV.
The Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) and related guidance provide several protections for such women, including coverage of IPV screenings and counseling with no out-of-pocket costs as part of the law's preventive services provision and a prohibition against insurers denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions (Dawson/Kates, KFF issue brief, 10/21).