CONUNDRUM (CONdom & CONtraception UNDerstandings: Researching Uptake & Motivations)

An illustration of 4 young people talking. Behind them are abstract shapes. On the top right are the Conundrum, NHS, Scottish Government and SPHSU logos. On the top left is the text

The CONUNDRUM project brings together the views of young people, with those of key stakeholders (e.g. people who plan and deliver sexual health services), to better understand the multi-level and complex factors shaping young people’s use and non-use of condoms and contraception. It aims to co-produce recommendations for future sexual health policy and service provision.

In Scotland, young people under the age of 25 experience the greatest burden of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and young women aged 20 -24 are the age group experiencing the highest rate of abortion care, suggesting unplanned conception. Condoms are still the most commonly used form of protection against STIs and unintended pregnancies by young people in Scotland, and are available to young people free of charge (alongside other contraceptives) across all health boards. Over the last five years, however, there have been strong indications that fewer young people than before are accessing free condom services, or Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC).

To investigate this situation, three NHS health boards (NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Lothian) in partnership with Scottish Government, have asked us to provide an in-depth and up-to-date understanding of the social context shaping young people’s use and non-use of condoms and contraception for penetrative sex.

The CONUNDRUM project took place between September 2019 and October 2020, and used a range of research methods, including: engagement events, focus groups, and an online survey.

All study outputs can be found on this page, including the full report and its executive summary.  You can find project updates on twitter at #ProjectCONUNDRUM.

External collaborators

Cynthia Graham (Professor of Sexual and Reproductive Health, University of Southampton)

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