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One Third Of Kiwis Practice Unsafe Sex

25 November 2003

ONE THIRD OF KIWIS PRACTICE UNSAFE SEX

Despite rising global rates of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections, Kiwis are still practising unsafe sex.

The 2003 Durex Global Sex Survey today released its second phase findings, revealing alarming statistics about the more serious side of sexual activity.

More than one-third (37%) of Kiwis have had unsafe sex with a new partner in the last 12 months. Furthermore, 32% admitted they're prepared to still have sex with a new partner even if they refused to wear a condom.

While more Kiwi males (44%) than females (21%) admitted they would have sex without a condom with a new partner, it's Kiwi women who are putting it into practice. 39% admitted they'd had unprotected sex in the last 12 months, compared to 35% of Kiwi males.

Even though information on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and AIDS is readily available to youth, young Kiwis are still practising unsafe sex. Up to 42% of males and 44% of females aged between 16-20 years admitted to having had unprotected sex in the last 12 months.

Globally, Kiwis rate tenth-equal with Croatia for practising unsafe sex behind worst offenders the Czech Republic (65%), Bulgaria (62%) and China (59%). Italian lovers are the most cautious with only 19% admitting they had practised unsafe sex.

Dr Gill Greer, Executive Director FPA New Zealand (Family Planning Association) says it is of concern that so many Kiwis are complacent about their sexual health, in particular those aged between 16 ? 20 years.

"As well as having a high number of STI cases, such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, New Zealand is currently ranked third highest for teenage pregnancies out of the OECD countries, behind the US and the UK," says Dr Greer.

"While there are no quick fix solutions for the negative sexual health statistics, wearing a condom is by far the most effective way to reduce the risk of an unwanted pregnancy, or contracting an STI or HIV/AIDS.

"We need to be encouraging people to have the conversations and learn to negotiate condom use. It's about respect for themselves and each other, and understanding the long term risks of unsafe sex. It's important that young men too take responsibility for practising safer sex."

Kiwi respondents to the survey stated the most important sexual health issue in New Zealand is teenage pregnancy (35%), followed by STIs (26%) and AIDS (23%). Not surprisingly, the issue of teenage pregnancy was of concern to Kiwis aged 16-20 years (39%) and especially to males, with 41% citing this as the number one issue, compared to 38% of females of the same age.

Globally, STIs are seen as the most important sexual health issue by almost three in 10 people (29%). HIV/AIDS is ranked joint second with contraceptive use. Almost one-third (31%) of under sixteens regard teenage pregnancy as the most important issue.

Durex NZ Manager, Victoria Potter, says more than 150,000 people from 34 countries took part in this year's largest-ever Durex Global Sex Survey, which provides an insight into the sexual attitudes and behaviour of people around the world.

"We were amazed with the results from the survey," says Ms Potter. "The latest World Health Organisation (WHO) figures showed there were five million people newly infected with HIV in 2002. Despite this fact, and the significant number of unwanted pregnancies and STI cases in New Zealand, there are still many Kiwis who are prepared to take the risk of having unprotected sex."

It's obvious from the results of the survey that Kiwis enjoy sex. Following the fact that 64% admitted having had a one-night stand (ahead of the global average of 45%), up to 19% stated they would have sex with a new partner on the first night, compared to 15% globally.

One-fifth of Kiwis (21%) would have sex with a new partner within the first week, however most Kiwis (33%) would have sex with a new partner within the first month, ahead of the global average of 25%. The Russians are the least cautious with almost four in ten (39%) saying they would have sex on the first night. The Taiwanese are the most cautious with only 4% saying they would have sex with a new partner on the first night.

Despite general perceptions, only 7% of Kiwis stated that their parents are the most useful source of sex education. However, teachers were more popular with young Kiwis, especially those aged under 16 years.

Dr Gill Greer says she was heartened by this result, in particular the number of young men (32%) saying their teacher had been the most useful source of sex education.

"Sexuality education has only recently become compulsory in schools so it's encouraging to see that reflected here," says Dr Greer.

Following the global trend, the majority of Kiwis (27%) believe magazines are the most useful source, with friends in second place at 19%. Kiwi women are more inclined to use magazines as their source of sex education (33%) than their male counterparts (18%).

The survey also revealed that an average of 45% of Kiwis, both men and women, have been to a sexual health clinic, and women are more likely to have been than men.

Up to 62% of women aged between 16-20 years, compared to only 28% of Kiwi males of the same age have visited a sexual health clinic. In addition, two-thirds (66%) of Kiwi women aged 21-24 years, and 41% of men of the same age have been to a sexual health clinic.

Sexual health clinics seem to be the domain of the youth with 77% of males and 84% of women aged over 45 years, admitting they have never been to a sexual health clinic.

Even though one-third of Kiwis are prepared to have unsafe sex, 71% stated they would always use a condom to protect themselves against HIV and other STIs. This result is ahead of the global average of 56% who said they would always use a condom.

Up to 58% of Kiwis stated they would always stay faithful to one partner, compared to 49% globally. Four out of five globally would not ask a partner about their sexual history. Fewer than one in five (17%) say they would reduce their number of sexual partners to protect themselves against HIV and other STIs.

These are the more serious findings from the 2003 Durex Global Sex Survey, released to coincide with World AIDS Day on 1 December. The more lighthearted results were released in September. To check out the full results of the 2003 Durex Global Sex Survey, visit www.durex.com.

ENDS


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