Many Teens Don't Use Condoms Correctly

U.K. study suggests more education is needed to protect kids

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THURSDAY, Aug. 10, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Teens who do use condoms often don't use them properly, British researchers report.

The survey of 1,400 U.K. teenagers, ages 14 to 18, found that about half had had penetrative vaginal sex and nearly two-thirds (373) said they'd used a condom on the most recent occasion.

However, six percent of those 373 teens said they'd applied a condom after penetration, and six percent said they continued to have penetrative sex after they'd removed the condom.

"If we are to see a reduction in [sexually transmitted infection] prevalence, it is essential that young people understand the importance of using condoms consistently and correctly," researchers at the University of Southampton concluded in the September issue of Sexually Transmitted Infections.

One hundred of the teens in the study also kept a six-month sexual activity journal, and 74 of them said they had used a condom. Of those, nearly one in three had put the condom on too late, and about 10 percent had removed it too soon, on at least one occasion during the six months.

The diaries described 714 sexual encounters. In 322 of those encounters, a condom was not used during penetrative vaginal sex. Enhanced intimacy and sensation, the use of another kind of contraception, or getting "carried away" were the primary reasons the teens said they didn't use a condom.

Teens who used other forms of contraception and those who did not use condoms routinely were most likely to use condoms incorrectly. Interestingly, teens who had a close relationship with their mothers were more likely to use condoms correctly, the study said.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about condoms.

SOURCE: BMJ Specialist Journals, news release, Aug. 8, 2006

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