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International News

Canada: Fewer Teens Report Having Intercourse

August 22, 2008

Fewer Canadian teens ages 15-19 are reporting having sexual intercourse, bringing the rate down to 43 percent in 2005 from 47 percent in 1996-1997, according to Statistics Canada. Data for the study came from 4,500 respondents to the 1996-1997 National Population Health Survey and about 10,000 respondents to each of the 2003 and 2005 Canadian Community Health surveys.

The rate for young women declined from 51 percent to 43 percent, while the rate for males remaining unchanged at 43 percent. Sexual debut before age 15 also declined, from 12 percent in 1996-1997 to 8 percent in 2005.

The reasons for the different rates found in young men and women were not explored in the study, said Michelle Rotermann, a Statistics Canada researcher. It could be that females having intercourse bear a larger risk for both pregnancy and STDs, and are more widely aware of those risks, said Dr. Andre Lalonde, executive vice president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada.

Reported condom use for teens ages 15-17 the last time they had sex was about 81 percent, but that dropped to 70 percent for teens ages 18-19. Previous research has found similar declines in condom use with age and less use among those taking oral contraceptives, the study said. Condom use also tends to decline among couples in longer-term relations, Rotermann said.

"It's possible that youth between the ages of 18 and 19… are in longer-term relationships and therefore they perceive their risk for [STDs] to be lower, and so unfortunately they're not using condoms," Rotermann said.

Lalonde believes older teens out of school may not be getting the message about condoms, and said there is a need for a national initiative to promote sexual health.

Back to other news for August 2008

Adapted from:
Canadian Press
08.20.2008; Lauren La Rose

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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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