Bissell, Paul, Anderson, Claire, Bacon, Lesley, Taylor, Beth and O'Brien, Karen (2001) Community pharmacy supply of emergency contraception. BMJ, 323 (7315). p. 751. ISSN 0959-8138

EDITOR—Stammers in his letter expresses anxiety about the supply of emergency hormonal contraception in community pharmacies and the effect this may have on the spread of sexually transmitted infections. He says that women in need of emergency hormonal contraception will be at risk of sexually transmitted infections. But many of these women are using the contraceptive pill and have forgotten to take it, or are in stable relationships. These women are not at increased risk of contracting infections, and pharmacy supply will have no impact on their spread. If a woman is attending for emergency contraception because of a burst condom or an episode of unprotected sex, there is a risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections, but the level of risk is not directly affected by the wider availability of emergency contraception in the pharmacy. If women are at risk of sexually transmitted infections they do not need an emergency intrauterine device: the quick and accessible supply of levonorgestrel is even more pertinent here.

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