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United Kingdom: One in Four Youngsters "Not Using Contraception"

September 22, 2010

A quarter of sexually active Britons under age 24 do not use any form of contraception with a new partner, according to results from a new worldwide survey by Marie Stopes International. That is an increase of 5 percent from 2009, suggesting that British authorities need to make sexual health and relationships education in schools a priority, said MSI, a sexual and reproductive health group.

The survey, released ahead of World Contraception Day (Sept. 26), included data from 5,223 respondents. British participants numbered 206 (100 male, 106 female) and answered online questions administered by market research firm GfK NOP.

Worldwide, 51 percent of males and 41 percent of females were not familiar with or were confused by contraceptive options, or said they did not know what form would be best for them. In Britain, the proportion was 32 percent, and 19 percent believed the "withdrawal method" is effective.

Personal hygiene was rated ahead of all other considerations, including contraception, when preparing for a date that could turn sexual.

Among UK youth who reported having unprotected sex with a new partner, 19 percent said they had been drunk; 16 percent said they had forgotten to use contraception; and 13 percent said their partner preferred not to use it. By age 18, 83 percent of Britons have had sex, according to government data, said Tracey McNeill, vice president of MSI's UK and Europe branch.

"We are calling on the Coalition government to put sex and relationships education back on the agenda and ensure that all schools, including faith schools, teach a standardized curriculum," McNeill said. "Where sex and relationships education is taught in conjunction with contraceptive information, more young people practice safe sex."

For more information about the study, visit New_study_shows_young_people_need_clearer_information_about_contraception.aspx.

Back to other news for September 2010

Adapted from:
The Guardian (London)
09.20.2010; UK Press Association

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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 the United Kingdom

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