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International News

Canada: Teens Waiting Longer, Having Safer Sex, Researcher Tells University of Guelph Conference

July 9, 2010

The media are missing the facts about Canadian teen sexuality that have emerged from 18 years of research at the local, provincial, and national levels, experts said recently in Guelph. The University of Guelph's 32nd annual Sexuality Conference attracted about 100 academics, students, sex therapists, and health workers.

"When it comes to teen sex, there's a lot of buzz out there," said Elizabeth Saewyc, a researcher at the University of British Columbia. "But the reality is that most teens today are sexually healthier than teens of a decade ago."

About 25 percent of Canadian adolescents in high school have had sex, a decline from 1992 but about the same as 1998. Of sexually active teens, 82 percent to 90 percent used contraceptives, including up to one-third who combined methods to prevent STDs as well as pregnancy, Saewyc said.

"It's hard to tease out how much is economic, how much is education, and so on," said Saewyc. "In the big picture, we know that the number of teens having sex at a young age is down and that contraceptive use is up. That's not going to happen without access and education."

Many sexual health professionals visit schools, advertise, and offer extended clinic hours to ensure access for adolescents, said Kathy Dunn, a nurse in London, Ontario. Contraception is more accessible, and many clinic services are free, she said, adding, "Services and cost are big factors for a lot of people."

"A few years back, it wasn't uncommon to leave high school, get married, and start a family," Saewyc said. "But most teens don't see 22-year-olds with babies anymore, so that model has changed. Most recognize that they need some kind of post-secondary education for their careers."

Back to other news for July 2010

Adapted from:
Canadian Press
06.25.2010; Kim Mackrael, Guelph Mercury

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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.
See Also
More HIV Statistics on Canada

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