Primary Sources of Sensitive Reproductive Health Information: Has Internet Overtaken Other Sources? [4N]

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

There is increasing use of the Internet to seek general and reproductive health information. We attempted to understand the sources of information that women seek for abortion information besides health care providers.

METHODS:

IRB approved cross sectional survey was conducted at University of California, Los Angeles. English speaking women who presented for abortion (excluding known fetal demise or anomalies) were enrolled. Women were asked about their likelihood (Likert Scale) of choosing the healthcare providers, Internet, television, partner, family, friends, radio, television or magazine as a source for information about general health and abortion, and to rank these sources (1–10) with respect to trustworthiness, accuracy, and accessibility. Rank of each information source was described as mean (SD) and the likelihood of choosing each source for general health and abortion information was compared using paired t tests.

RESULTS:

Half of the participants (n=100; mean age=27 years) had never had a prior abortion. Internet ranked high as the trusted (3.19) and accurate (3.15) source of abortion information compared to family, partner, friends, television and radio next only to healthcare providers (1.05). Internet was ranked higher (2.93) than healthcare providers (3.15) for accessibility of abortion information. With the exception of healthcare providers, women were significantly less likely to seek any source of health information for abortion information compared to general health information.

CONCLUSION:

Next to healthcare providers Internet has the power and accessibility to provide trusted and accurate information to women seeking abortion. We should focus on improving accuracy of abortion information on Internet.

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