New Delhi: In statistics that may worry health planners, a study on Indian youth has found that consistent condom use is dismal in young men who have had pre-marital sexual experiences. The study, conducted by the Population Council of India under the aegis of the Union Health Ministry, covered 58,000 youth in six states in the age group of 15-29 years.The study released recently found that consistent condom use was "almost non-existent" among the youth despite the fact that a sizeable proportion reported having pre-marital sexual experiences."Among youth who had experienced pre-marital sex, only 13 per cent of young men and three per cent of young women reported that they had always used a condom," the study said. It also found that correct awareness about condoms was far from universal, especially among young women. The study also found that youngsters in both urban and rural areas indulged in pre-marital sex. Fifteen per cent of men and four per cent of women reported having engaged in sexbefore marriage and rural young men at 17 per cent were more likely than their urban counterparts to have experienced pre-marital sex.Rural women at four per cent were more likely than their urban counterparts at two per cent to report pre marital sex. "Findings have suggested that consistent condom use was rarely practised by those reporting pre-marital sexual relations... correct awareness about the condom was far fromuniversal, especially among young women," it said.The study also said that large proportion of youth reported discomfort while seeking contraceptives, including condoms, from a health care provider or pharmacy.The survey was conducted between 2006 and 2008 among urban and rural population of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.The study `Youth in India: Situation and Needs` surveyed Indian youth over a large number of issues, including health, education, employment among others.
Given that the inefficacy of government`s programmes on educating youth on safe sex was evident in the findings, the study suggested that the government create "bold andimaginatively designed communication programmes" aimed at unmarried as well as married youth to encourage condom use. PTI
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