To investigate the contraception and sexual health-related awareness, attitudes, and practices of a representative sample of Canadian women of childbearing age.
A self-report survey was mailed to a national sample of 3345 women, aged 15 to 44 years, who were members of a pre-recruited market research panel. Survey questions and methodology were similar to 3 previous Canadian Contraception Studies, allowing for description of current patterns of behaviours and beliefs and comparison of trends over time.
Of 3345 women contacted, 1582 returned completed surveys, for a response rate of 47.3%. Responses were weighted to represent Canadian women by region, age, and marital status on the basis of current census data. Eighty-six percent of women sampled had ever had sexual intercourse and 78% were currently sexually active. Women's familiarity with oral contraceptives and condoms as methods of contraception was high (96% and 93%, respectively), but familiarity with other methods was much lower (sterilization, 62%; withdrawal, 59%; the morning-after pill, 57%; intrauterine devices, 50%; depot [injectable] medroxyprogesterone acetate, 38%). A very favourable opinion was held by 63% of respondents concerning oral contraceptives, by 38% concerning condoms, and by 39% and 28% concerning male and female sterilization, respectively. Among respondents who have ever had sexual intercourse, the most frequently used current methods were oral contraceptives (32%), condoms (21%), male sterilization (15%), female sterilization (8%), and withdrawal (6%). Nine percent of these respondents reported using no method of contraception at all. The currently reported rate of female sterilization is the lowest ever recorded in Canada. Survey results show that adherence to contraceptive methods is a challenge for many women and their partners, and that risk of sexually transmitted disease is an ongoing concern.
This study provides a wide-ranging examination of contraception awareness, beliefs, and use among Canadian women that may provide guidance for clinical and public health practice. Part 1 of this report describes the methodology of the 2002 Canadian Contraception Study and the overall results of this study; Part 2 considers results pertaining specifically to adolescent women and women in their later reproductive years, reports on indicators of women's sexual function and reproductive health history, describes approaches to addressing challenges in contraception counselling, and presents data concerning trends in Canadian women's awareness and use of contraception over the past 2 decades.
This paper reports the frequency of use of protection and rates of birth control pill/condom use by age and gender among a large, sexually active group of Ontario adolescents who were followed from 12 to 17 years of age. The sample consisted of the 759 males and 690 females who reported engaging in sexual intercourse during the McMaster Teen Project. Significantly more females aged 15-17 years reported always using a method of protection, and using the birth control pill. Condom use was more frequent among males at all ages, but reached statistical significance at ages 12, 13 and 17 years. Although the numbers reporting no use of protection decreased with age, by 17 years 36% of males and 33% of females continued to report no use of protection. Large numbers of sexually active Ontario adolescents continue to be vulnerable to pregnancy, STDs and AIDS.
To describe adolescent knowledge, attitudes and behavior relevant to sexuality and the prevention of AIDS in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
A cross-sectional descriptive study was designed, taking a random sample of 10th grade students at 14 Saint Petersburg grade schools, which were stratified by socio-economic district. A total of 185 female and 185 male students completed a self-administered 46-item questionnaire, with a response rate of 94%.
From the questionnaires, 20% of females and 31% of males reported having had sexual intercourse and 25% of females and 12% of males reported being sexually abused. These adolescents displayed much misinformation about sexual matters and AIDS prevention. Only 25% of the females and 34% of the males believed that condoms should be used just once, and 38% of each sex believed that if washed, they could be used multiple times. Many respondents, especially males, rated their knowledge about sexual matters as high or adequate. Support for sex education was strong, especially among females, and respondents generally saw sex education as improving sexual pleasure. Most information sources about sexual activity were either not considered very credible, or not adequately accessible.
Substantial reported rates of sexual abuse, sexual experience and much misinformation and unwarranted attitudes toward condoms, safer sexual practices and HIV/AIDS suggest the need for vigorous sex education programs for Russian youth. The early and sustained education of girls is especially important. Sex education should be introduced at an early age so that children can be taught how to reduce the risks of sexual abuse, HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases, and to improve their sexual experiences as responsible adults.
Seven out of ten of the adolescents included in the study had experienced unsafe sex with a new partner. Afterwards, 48% worried about STD and 31% worried about pregnancy. Teenagers calculate the risk of contracting STD from the looks and the reputation of a new partner. Young women and men agree, that both share responsibility for the use of condoms, but more often the young women initiate the use of condoms. Many participants found it more embarrassing to buy condoms than to use them. The participants hoped for improved education in schools and less expensive condoms. The adolescents possessed good knowledge concerning how to protect themselves, but changes in attitudes are needed. School and youth clinics play important roles in this process.
In this paper, we report on the results of what we believe to be the first population-based, random-digit telephone AIDS survey conducted in Russia. Recent and rapidly increasing STD and HIV rates show the extremely urgent need for HIV prevention programmes in Russia. HIV sexual risk behaviour, knowledge, attitudes, and personal concern characteristics were assessed in a sample of men and women aged 15-55 years living in 435 St Petersburg households. Many factors related to high HIV risk were found in this study. Only 6% of respondents reported consistent condom use, and 78% reported that they never or seldom used condoms. At the same time, over 13% had 3 and more sexual partners during the last year and 12% had 10 and more lifetime partners. Occasional or frequent anal sex was reported by 13% of those surveyed. Two-thirds of respondents acknowledged personal risk for getting HIV but fewer than 25% indicated that they had taken steps to reduce the risks. One-third of respondents believed that condoms are not an effective protection against HIV. Forty-eight per cent of respondents believed that HIV could be transmitted through kissing, 56% through mosquito bites, and 29.2% through sharing cigarettes. HIV/AIDS prevention efforts for the general public and also targeted campaigns directed toward high-risk communities must be quickly undertaken in Russia.
This study examines leading explanations for unsafe sex in light of in-depth interviews with 102 high-risk gay and bisexual men in Toronto to see how well they engage with the social circumstances and reasoning processes of men in their sexual relationships. We argue that there is an inadequate fit between some of the leading explanations and the discursive accounts provided by high risk men themselves. Their accounts focus on unsafe sex occurring as a resolution to condom and erectile difficulties, through momentary lapses and trade offs, out of personal turmoil and depression, and as a byproduct of strategies of disclosure and intuiting safety. This study examines, in particular the circumstances and rationales associated with men who identify their practices as "barebacking." We conclude with recommendations for communicating prevention messages to those most at risk based on the self-understandings of gay and bisexual men who most frequently practice unprotected sex.
Attitudes toward sex and condoms in the U.S. are more negative and less monolithic than in Sweden. We investigated the possible effect of this on AIDS prevention strategies by comparing women and men who were heterosexual university students in the two countries (Sweden: n = 570; U.S.: n = 407). Using self-administered questionnaires, subjects were asked about their sexual activities, safer sex practices, numbers of partners, and condom use. American students took a more multifaceted approach to safer sex--combining changes in sexual activities, reductions in casual sex, and increased condom use with both steady and nonsteady partners. Swedish students took a more singular approach--consistently using condoms with nonsteady partners. It is suggested that the difference in Swedish practices results from fundamental differences in sexual attitudes between the countries.
The disparity in rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), HIV/AIDS, and unplanned pregnancy between Alaska Native (AN) and non-AN populations, particularly among young adults and females, is significant and concerning. Focus groups were conducted to better understand the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of rural Alaska youth (both AN and non-AN) and communities regarding STDs, HIV/AIDS, and unplanned pregnancy and to determine the best methods to educate and facilitate behavior change in AN youth regarding these issues.
A convenience sample of AN and rural youth (n = 105) from 5 communities in Alaska, ages 15-24 years, participated in 21 focus groups. Focus group participants were divided by sex and age. We assessed themes related to knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about STDs, HIV/AIDS, and unplanned pregnancy, as well as perceptions of how youth prefer to learn about sexual health issues.
The major themes identified were: (1) sexual health is not viewed only in relation to a physical act; (2) there is a basic understanding of sexual health, but youth have a lot of unanswered questions pertaining to STDs and HIV/AIDS; (3) sexual health messages should be delivered via the Internet and school; (4) youth want to hear messages promoting STD/HIV testing and condom use; (5) easier access to condoms is needed; (6) alcohol and drug use affect sexual behavior and risk taking; and (7) issues of confidentiality and embarrassment affect health care-seeking behaviors for sexual health issues.
One of the fundamental principles of public health practice is community participation, which asserts that success in achieving change is enhanced by the active participation of the intended audience in defining their own high-priority solutions. Our findings-driven by youth themselves-are critical in designing and implementing future sexual health interventions and promoting greater community involvement and acceptance.
Russia has one of the highest rates of alcohol consumption and is experiencing one of the fastest-growing HIV epidemics in the world. Given these co-occurring health problems, we systematically reviewed combined alcohol and sexual risk interventions to reduce HIV among Russians. We completed comprehensive electronic searches to locate studies that (a) sampled people living in Russia, (b) used a behavioral intervention, and (c) assessed both alcohol and sexual risk behavior. These searches yielded 584 studies, of these, two were included. Compared with controls, intervention participants reported increasing their condom use (ds ranged from 0.12 to 0.85). Within-group improvements in sexual behaviors were found for both groups (ds ranged from 0.19 to 1.94); participants reported fewer sexual partners, more condom use, and reduced alcohol or drug use before sex. These findings support the need and potential benefits for alcohol and HIV interventions among Russians, and suggest directions for public policy.