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COVID-19, relationships and contraception: What sexually active emerging adults were doing during the lockdown in Accra

Adriana A. Biney, University Of Ghana
Esinam Kayi, University of Ghana
Donatus Yaw Atiglo, University Of Ghana
Laud Sowah, University of Ghana,legon
Delali Badasu, Regional Institute for Population Studies
Augustine Ankomah, Population Council

Globally, family planning services were disrupted during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, with women and men facing limited access to these essential services. Access to family planning services was especially challenged for sexually active urban youth, and this warrants in-depth investigation. Therefore, we qualitatively explored relationship dynamics and contraceptive use experiences of 24 emerging adults who reported being in relationships during the lockdown period and at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eleven out of the 24 participants were sexually active during the lockdown and reported stable relationships, while their sexually inactive counterparts had disruptions in their relationships, mainly due to the distance and lack of sex. Modern contraception, especially condoms, were used and these were acquired prior to the lockdown. This was confirmed by family planning providers. None mentioned unintended pregnancies, but there were rare cases of sexually transmitted infections. Findings indicate that sexually active urban youth navigated this period with different experiences. Solutions to improve access to modern contraceptive services may benefit some youth but those with a preference for traditional/folkloric methods must also be targeted with specialised interventions. Discussions on the impacts of COVID-19 should be extended to public health issues such as access to contraceptives.

Keywords: COVID-19, Family planning and contraception, Children and youth, Qualitative data/methods/approaches

See paper.

  Presented in Session 188. Impact of Covid-19 on Contraceptive Behaviour