Use of Contraceptive Methods Among Homeless Women for Protection Against Unwanted Pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Prior Use and Willingness to Use in the Future

Published in: Contraception, v. 63, no. 5, May 2001, p. 227-281

by Lillian Gelberg, Barbara Leake, Michael C. Lu, Ronald Andersen, Suzanne L. Wenzel, Hal Morgenstern, Paul Koegel, Carole H. Browner

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Lifetime contraceptive use as reported by a representative sample of 764 homeless women in Los Angeles was examined overall and for different age and ethnic subgroups and contrasted with expressed willingness to use specific methods. Over 80% of the women reported condom use. However, less than 5% had ever used female condoms, although 38% of the overall sample and 73% of the teenagers said they were willing to try them. Similar gaps between reported use and endorsement were found for other particular methods. Native Americans had relatively low use of virtually all contraceptive methods, and over 80% of African-Americans rejected implants. Our findings suggested that age-related factors and ethno-cultural perceptions may deter some homeless women from using contraception. In any case, gaps between realized use and willingness to use may represent missed opportunities to prevent the high rates of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections found among homeless women.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.