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International News

Australians Have "Hit-and-Miss" Approach to Sex

January 15, 2009

Half of Australians who use condoms as their main form of contraception are not using them consistently, and 12 percent of women using oral contraceptives miss taking a pill at least once a month, according to an online survey from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University.

"Few respondents understood the 'nitty gritty' details of the contraceptives they used, such as failure rates and potential side effects," said doctoral student Alicia Mitic. "A big concern is that even though most people were using some form of contraception, primarily condoms or the pill, few were using them correctly, increasing their risk of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections."

Forty percent of respondents had never been tested for STDs, and 14 percent had been diagnosed previously with an STD. The most common STDs reported were genital warts, herpes or chlamydia. Seventeen percent of respondents said they were "unsure" of their partner's STD status, and 3 percent said they had lied to a partner about their own STD status.

Three percent of respondents said they had experienced negative side effects related to contraceptives, and many had a "vague" understanding of contraceptive methods, said Mitic.

"They also had very little knowledge of the wide range of contraceptives available -- many had never even heard of some of the options that were listed in the survey such as injections, implants, IUDs [intrauterine devices] or natural family planning methods," Mitic explained.

Almost 600 people older than 18 have taken the anonymous survey, which will remain online until next month at

Back to other news for January 2009

Adapted from:
Australian Associated Press
01.13.2009; Danny 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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