Young, Single Adults Less Likely Than Teens to Use Condoms, Canadian Researchers Say
September 21, 2009
Single young Canadians tend to use condoms less and less as they grow older, putting them at increased risk of STDs, according to a new study. The Statistics Canada study utilized data from the Canadian Community Health Surveys, and it focused on young adults who were neither married nor in common-law partnerships.
Researchers found that condom use was 85 percent for males ages 15-17 and 75 percent for females the same age. Condom use declined among Canadians ages 20-34 to 59.9 percent for men and 49.9 percent for women.
"With this age group, as individuals become involved in more monogamous, longer-term relationships, then perhaps individuals are feeling their risk of contracting [an STD] is less," said lead author Michelle Rotermann. "Hopefully, this paper will remind individuals this isn't the case."
Condom use declined with age across the board, with the lowest rates reported in Quebec and among women in rural areas. For single Canadians ages 20-24, condom use during the last sexual encounter was 64 percent among men and 54 percent for women. That dropped to 56 percent and 47 percent, respectively, among men and women ages 25-29, and then to 54 percent and 42 percent, respectively, among men and women ages 30-34.
A woman relying on monogamy alone for protection could risk her reproductive health, said Rotermann and study co-author Alexander McKay. Cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia have grown significantly since 1998, and these can be asymptomatic, McKay stressed. The researchers said their findings suggest that sex education campaigns should continue to target young adults after they graduate high school.
The full report, "Condom Use at Last Sexual Intercourse Among Unmarried, Not Living Common-Law 20- to 34-Year-Old Canadian Young Adults," was published in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality (2009;18(3):75-87).
09.10.2009; Mike Barber
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.