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International News

Canada: Teens' Sex Practices and Lack of Knowledge Ring Alarm Bells

February 22, 2006

Results of an online survey of Canadian youth reveal "an astonishing" lack of knowledge about STDs, said Jean-Yves Frappier, a pediatrician and the head of the adolescent division of Sainte Justine Hospital and the Canadian Association for Adolescent Health.

Ipsos-Reid last fall conducted online interviews of 1,200 teens ages 14-17 and 1,100 mothers. The results are considered accurate within 2.9 percentage points. Among the findings:

  • About one-third of the surveyed teens reported being sexually active.


  • About one-quarter of sexually active young people did not use a condom when they last had sex, even though 16 percent reported their partner was not monogamous.

  • While 68 percent reported experience with oral sex, many did not know this can transmit syphilis and gonorrhea.

  • One-half of participants did not know that human papillomavirus can lead to cervical cancer.

  • About 5 percent of sexually active respondents had been infected with an STD.

  • Sexually active teens reported an average of three partners since sexual debut; 38 percent reported casual sex.

  • More than half of respondents said their parents were their most significant sources of sexual information.

"Kids have sex, that's not new," said Frappier. "But there's been an increase in the prevalence of [STDs] in the last five years."

Channing Rodman, who is in charge of developing new sex education programs for the community-based group Head & Hands, said many high school girls use birth control pills but not condoms and go from one "loving and trusting" partner to the next. "Because there is an atmosphere of trust, they won't get tested for STIs. You have unprotected sex with multiple partners, which is the highest risk sex you can have, Rodman said."

Back to other news for February 22, 2006

Adapted from:
Edmonton Journal
02.22.06; Charlie Fidelman

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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.
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