Indians rank top in unprotected sex: Survey

Last Updated: Sunday, October 2, 2011 - 19:42

Mumbai: As many as 72 percent of sexually active young people across the country have had sex with new partner without any protection, an international survey says.

A full 40 percent of the youth polled in India say they had problems accessing contraceptives when they needed, 36 percent said they knew a close friend/ family member who has had an unplanned pregnancy.

Nearly a one-third got wrong information about contraception from friends.

The survey, conducted in April-May this year, focused on the issue of unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Eleven international NGOs, including International Planned Parenthood Federation, Population Council, and Women

Deliver, were a part of the initiative, launched by Bayer HealthCare in 2007 to mark world contraceptive day (Sept 26).

This was the third such survey, the people covered were in the age bracket 15-35.

Titled `Clueless or clued up: Your right to be informed about contraception`, the survey shows alarmingly high levels of unprotected sex amongst the youth.

It also finds that respondents avoid asking healthcare professionals about contraceptives, and many cannot rely on their schools to provide comprehensive sex education.

The online survey was carried out in 29 countries with over 6,000 participants. In India, the number of respondents was 200, with an equal breakup among both the genders, aged
between 20 and 25, drawn from all the states.

Worldwide around 41 percent of the 208 million pregnancies which occur each year are unintended. In addition to this, one in 20 adolescent girls gets a bacterial infection through sex every year and the age at which infections are acquired is becoming younger and younger.

Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India`s public awareness committee chairperson, Rajat Ray, said, "What the results show is that too many young people either lack good knowledge about sexual health, or do not feel empowered enough to ask for contraception, or have not learnt the skills to negotiate contraceptive use with partners.

"It shows that young people are not receiving enough sex education or are exposed to the wrong type of information."

While India tops the list in unprotected sex (72 percent say they have had sex with new partner without contraception), the percentage is over 50 in China, Estonia, Kenya, Korea, Norway and Thailand; over 40 in Australia, Chile, Colombia, Britain, Indonesia, Lithuania, Mexico, Poland, Singapore, Sweden and Turkey.

As to the reasons, 15 per cent across Asia Pacific and 14 per cent in Europe said they did not like contraceptives, 16 percent in Asia Pacific said partner preferred not to use it.

Surprisingly, 32 percent of the Indian respondents said they felt they are not at the risk of pregnancy when they had unprotected sex.

In Europe, Latin America and the US, around half said they felt very well-informed about contraceptive options (46, 53 and 53 percent respectively). This is considerably low in
Africa and Asia Pacific where only a quarter felt this way (27 and 25 percent respectively).

But around half the Indian respondents said they are not very familiar with the contraceptive options.

As to the mode of contraception, almost 70 percent Indian respondents use condoms, 44 percent use the contraceptive pills, almost 40 percent consult a doctor and for 34 percent, withdrawal is the means to skip pregnancy.

Having sex during menstruation is considered an effective form of contraception by over a quarter of respondents in Thailand and India (28 and 26 pc respectively).

Family Planning Association of India secretary general, Vishwanath Koliwad, said, "Lack of right information on contraception is a huge issue in the country."

PTI



First Published: Sunday, October 2, 2011 - 18:47

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