This was a prospective study to determine the uptake of intra-uterine device (IUD) contraception in Aboriginal and Torres Strait women living in urban Darwin, Northern territory (NT). IUD contraception is one form of Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) and the uptake of other LARC, such as medroxyprogesterone acetate injection (Depo) and etonorgestrol subdermal implant (Implanon) by ATSI women in NT has been quite extensive. However there is little information about the use of IUD contraception and anecdotal reports would suggest that the use of IUDs in such women is very limited. Consequently Aboriginal and Torres Strait women are not accessing the full range of LARC and more importantly they are not accessing the longest lasting reversible contraception available as some IUDs are effective for 10 years.
The current study was established to look at the uptake of IUD contraception in urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait women in Darwin NT. It was conducted between 2014-2016 at the Gumileybirra Women’s Clinic, Danila Dilba Health Services, Palmerston NT. A dedicated IUD clinic was established which was staffed by a doctor with specialist training in IUD insertion and an Aboriginal Health Practitioner. Any patient attending Danila Dilba Health Clinics in Darwin who expressed a wish to have an IUD was given an appointment at the special clinic. The patients presented to the clinic and an IUD was inserted using well-documented guide-lines and protocols. Permission was obtained to collect de-identified data from the first fifty insertions and these data were analysed.
These data demonstrate that Aboriginal and Torres Strait women do present for IUD insertion once they are given the option. A significant proportion of these women were referred from the post-natal clinic at Gumileybirra and the timing of insertion will be discussed at the conference. Another cohort were women in their thirties who had completed their families but needed contraception for many years before menopause. Together these data demonstrate that given the opportunity Aboriginal and Torres Strait women will take advantage of the best available forms of contraception to order to take control of their fertility.