Almost half of young Britons admit they’ve had unprotected sex with a new partner, a new poll reveals. Despite relentless safe-sex ads, youth are still exposing themselves to sexually transmitted diseases.
According to a YouGov poll, 47 percent of sexually active people in the UK aged between 16 and 24 chose not to wear a condom during their first sexual encounter with a new partner. One in ten have admitted they have never used a condom in their entire life.
In response to the findings, Public Health England has launched the first Government sexual health campaign in eight years, the so-called Protect Against STIs, which seeks to promote condom use in the most effective way.
The campaign aims to raise awareness about the consequences of STIs, which include infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, and even meningitis. It also highlights how easy it is to contract an infection, given they are symptom-less and it is therefore hard to tell whether your partner has an STI.
Jordan, 19, from Wrexham, admitted he only uses condoms around “half the time”, and that boozing plays a large role in his behavior.
“Drink definitely has an effect, because when you’re drunk, you’re more careless,” he told Newsbeat.
The survey also found that 58 percent of respondents said they use contraception to avoid pregnancy, while 29 percent of young people use condoms to protect themselves from STIs.
It suggests that young people are more concerned about covering themselves from pregnancy than contracting STIs.
20-year-old Elle said some men she had slept with were much more worried about getting her pregnant than about contracting infections.
Jordan from Wrexham told Newsbeat: “It’s on them then, isn’t it? If it’s a baby, it’s them too. If it’s an STI, it’s your responsibility. If a girl’s on the pill, then it’s another way of saying ‘you don’t need to use a condom, then’.”
In 2016, there were more than 141,000 chlamydia and gonorrhoea diagnoses in people aged between 15 and 24 in England.
GP Dr Sara Kayat told Newsbeat the only way of preventing STIs is by using a condom.
“Whilst many STIs are symptom-less, contracting them can have serious health consequences if left untreated and even lead to infertility.
“As I tell patients in my clinic every week, it’s just not worth putting yourself at risk by not using a condom,” she told Newsbeat.