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Retail Demand for Emergency Contraception Products Following New Year’s Day

Compared with other U.S. holidays, the New Year’s holiday period is associated with increased demand for emergency contraception products, researchers report, indicating increased risks of unprotected vaginal intercourse. The authors conclude, “Targeting behavioral risks, prevention strategies to mitigate sexual violence, and improving access to contraception around holidays may limit the risks associated with unprotected vaginal intercourse.”

Using a time series analysis and autoregressive integrated moving average model, the investigators looked at weekly aggregated sales of emergency contraception items in U.S. brick-and-mortar retail outlets such as grocery stores, pharmacies, mass merchandisers, club stores, dollar stores, and military outlets from 2016 to 2022. Weeks were classified as following the New Year’s holiday (n = 6) or not (n = 356).

Based on weekly sales of levonorgestrel emergency contraception per 1,000 women of reproductive age in the U.S. population, the study showed the following: “Sales of levonorgestrel emergency contraception significantly increased after the New Year holiday (0.63 (95% confidence interval 0.58 to 0.69) unit increase per 1,000 women aged 15-44). Holidays that share some aspects of the elevated risks of unprotected sexual intercourse with the New Year holiday (Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, US Independence Day) were associated with increased sales, albeit to a lesser degree, with respective sales increases per 1,000 women aged 15-44 of 0.31 (0.25 to 0.38), 0.14 (0.06 to 0.23), and 0.20 (0.11 to 0.29). Holidays without these expectations (Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day) were not significantly associated with sales of levonorgestrel emergency contraception.”

Source: BMJ