TUESDAY, Aug. 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Women’s use of a range of preventive health services was down in 2020, according to a study published online July 2 in JAMA Health Forum.

Nora V. Becker, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, and colleagues used data from 685,373 women (aged 18 to 74 years) enrolled in a commercial health maintenance organization in Michigan to understand utilization of women’s preventive health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The researchers found that for services requiring an in-person visit (breast cancer screening, cervical cancer screening, sexually transmitted infection [STI] testing, and long-acting reversible contraception [LARC] insertions), utilization declined by 60 to 90 percent during the spring of 2020, with utilization for all services recovering by July 2020 following a nadir in April 2020. In 2020, claims for pharmacy-obtained hormonal contraceptives were consistently 15 to 30 percent lower than in 2019. Compared with 2019, the odds of a woman receiving a given preventive service in 2020 were significantly lower, including for breast cancer screening (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.80), cervical cancer screening (aOR, 0.80), STI screening (aOR, 0.83), LARC insertion (aOR, 0.87), and pharmacy-obtained contraception (aOR, 0.73).

“The pandemic has disrupted the utilization of women’s preventive health services and may be associated with increased disparities in access to these services,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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