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Unprotected sex on the rise in Britain

Almost three out of ten young people in Europe engage in unprotected sex because they are too embarrassed to ask a healthcare professional for contraception, a survey shows.

The multi-national survey, Clueless or Clued Up: Your Right to be informed about contraception, has shown "alarmingly" high levels of unprotected sex among young people as well as poor knowledge of effective contraceptive options.

It has been published today (26 September) to mark World Contraception Day.

Since 2009, the number of people having unprotected sex with a new partner increased by 19% in Great Britain.

While over half of European respondents (55%) receive sex education in schools, 14% of young people in Great Britain claimed they had experienced instances of teachers providing information about contraception that they later realised was inaccurate or untrue.

20% across Europe also said their school does not provide a comfortable environment for questions on sexuality and intimacy.

"Too many young people either lack good knowledge about sexual health, do not feel empowered enough to ask for contraception or have not learned the skills to negotiate contraceptive use with their partners to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies or STIs," said Jennifer Woodside of the International Planned Parenthood Federtion (IPPF).

"It should not come as a surprise then that the result is many young people having unprotected sex and that harmful myths continue to flourish in place of accurate information."

Across Europe, with the exception of France and Italy, over half of young people use the internet to get information about contraceptive options.

World Contraception Day