United Kingdom: Itís Not Just a Case of Getting a Cream
September 5, 2006
In an online survey of 30,000 U.K. teens and young adults, one-third of those ages 16-24 reported having sex before age 16, according to BareAll06, a joint teen sexual health campaign of BBC Radio 1, 1xtra, MTV, and Durex. The campaign is also supported by the Department of Health, where ministers said they would use findings to help design prevention information in youth programming.
The younger the respondent, the less likely STDs were a concern to them, despite high STD rates among U.K. youths. Pregnancy was the most feared consequence of unprotected sex, for 34 percent of respondents, according to the survey. More than one-third of respondents under age 25 said they do not always use condoms during sex with a new partner. Reasons respondents reported for not using condoms included that they are not cool, they "don't like the feeling," and they think condoms "spoil the mood." One 19-year-old reported offering to use a condom, which his female partner just threw away.
Those in their teens and 20s were less likely to consider STDs and HIV infection as a prominent risk of unprotected sex. Many do not realize "it's not just a case of having an itch and getting a cream; some of the sexually transmitted infections have long-lasting medical effects and leave you with fertility problems," said Dr. Mark Hamilton, a Radio 1 sexual health adviser.
Behaviorally, more than two-thirds of respondents reported having had a one-night stand. The age of sexual debut was usually 16, and most people reported two to four sexual partners in their lifetime.
While 80 percent of those surveyed said sex education at school only covered the "basics," teachers were not ranked highly as an important source for sex advice. Friends and the Internet ranked higher, worrying Hamilton, who said his "concern is that the advice they are getting is not as accurate as it should be."
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.