Condom Confusion Puts Young People's Sexual Health at Risk

Armen Hareyan's picture

Sexual Health

Many sexually active young people put themselves at risk because they do not use condoms consistently or correctly, according to a study published by Brook, the sexual heath charity for young people.

The study, funded by the Big Lottery Fund and carried out by the Centre for Sexual Health Research at the University of Southampton, found that only around a third of sexually active young people reported using condoms consistently.

It also revealed some major gaps in young people's knowledge of sexual health issues.

In a survey of more than 1300 young people aged 16-18:

  • 52% thought that chlamydia only affects women


  • 54% did not know that emergency contraception can be taken up to 72 hours after having sex

  • 31% thought that STIs can be caught from a toilet seat

School was considered to be the most important source of information on sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Jan Barlow, Chief Executive of Brook, said:

"This report should really focus the minds of everyone who cares about the sexual health of young people today. Condoms are the only way for sexually active young people to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as well as being an effective form of contraception, as long as they are used properly. Although most young people do now use condoms at least some of the time, the majority are still putting themselves at risk by using them inconsistently and sometimes incorrectly.

"Many also think that STIs are something that happen to other people