United Kingdom: Sex Health Frankness "Milestone"
March 9, 2010
A new government survey of more than 1,200 people ages 15-24 finds that most greatly value openness with their partners about sexual history and STD screening. In fact, this was perceived as a key milestone in a relationship. Even so, many respondents also said they would be too embarrassed to discuss such matters with a new partner.
In the Populus survey, 70 percent of respondents placed openness about STDs and sexual history above meeting the parents (66 percent) as a signal that the relationship will last. However, 73 percent said they did not talk about STDs before having sex with a new partner. A quarter were too embarrassed to discuss safe sex or how to prevent STDs and pregnancy, and 30 percent felt uncomfortable asking a new partner to use a condom.
"While many young couples realize the significance of being able to talk openly about accepting tests for [STDs], sheer embarrassment is preventing them from doing so, and potentially risking their sexual health as well as the future of their relationship," said Dr. Catherine Hood, a spokesperson for the government's "Sex. Worth Talking About" campaign, which sponsored the survey.
Hood emphasized that sexually active young people should be tested for chlamydia. The STD often does not have symptoms but can lead to infertility and other serious health problems.