November 10, 2009
Many Australians who report having unprotected sex do not get tested for STDs, according to a study released Monday to mark Sexual Health Week. Of more than 1,000 sexually active Australians ages 18-40 polled last month, 93.1 percent said they had sex at least once without a condom, including 47.5 percent who were ages 35-40 and in non-monogamous relationships.
"The majority of safe-sex campaigns are targeted at youth these days, yet this research shows that 35- to 40-year-olds are just as exposed to unsafe sex practices," said Jill Michelson, national clinical advisor for Marie Stopes International. "More needs to be done to get the message to them to stop."
Among all respondents, 56.2 percent had never been screened for STDs. Six in 10 participants who said they had unprotected sex at least once never followed up with STD screening. The least likely to screen were those ages 18-24 and 35-40. Of women, 51 percent had at least one STD screening, compared with only 36 percent of men.
"Australians just don't seem to be getting the message: regular [STD] check-ups and condom usage are the only way to safeguard your sexual health," said Michelson.