CUPID to improve sexual health services

21 May 2013

Researchers from The University of Queensland and The University of Newcastle are conducting a national survey to combat unintended pregnancy, which accounts for half of all pregnancies in Australia. 

Associate Professor Jayne Lucke from UQ's Centre for Clinical Research is leading the Contraceptive Use, Pregnancy Intention and Decisions (CUPID) study. 

“The CUPID study investigates unintended pregnancy and access to contraception among Australian women aged 18- to 23-years through a short web-based survey,” Associate Professor Lucke said. 

”We are examining what young women know, think and do about avoiding unintended pregnancy and the differences women face in rural and urban areas of Australia when accessing contraception, advice and information.” 

Associate Professor Lucke said early findings from about 400 young women suggested a diversity of experiences using and accessing contraception. 

“The contraceptive pill and condoms appear to be the most common methods of contraception, with young women less likely to use more effective, long-acting methods such as implants and Intra Uterine Devices,” Associate Professor Lucke said. 

“Those interested in contraceptive methods other than the Pill describe difficulty in getting information and support, indicating that doctors tend to prescribe the Pill without much discussion of alternative options and their side-effects.” 

Other preliminary findings from the study revealed that most of the women who had been pregnant (one in six) were using some form of contraception at the time but none was using a long-acting method. 

CUPID Project Coordinator Melissa Harris, from the University of Newcastle's Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing, said findings from the study would be used to suggest how contraceptive services and advice could be improved in Australia. 

“To assist policy makers, GPs and other health service providers working for improvements in Australia's sexual and reproductive health it is essential that we find out more about contraception use and access to services,” Ms Harris said. 

“The CUPID study will help us define more innovative ways to provide access to sexual health information and appropriate contraception in rural areas to overcome the particular problems posed by distance,” she said. 

The study is supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC), Family Planning NSW and Bayer Australia Ltd. 

Media: Shannah O'Brien, UQCCR Marketing and Communications Officer, 07 3346 6041 or