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Young Brits "ignorant" of STI risks

Many young people in Britain are ignorant of sexual health issues, new research has suggested.

More than a quarter of young Britons (25.1%) believe that STIs can be transmitted through kissing, while 24.5% think they could catch an STI from a toilet seat, according to a Durex survey.

Many of the respondents were also found to be worryingly relaxed about their sexual health, with almost eight out of 10 (79.8%) believing they are at little or no risk of contracting STIs.

Entitled They won't know unless we tell them, the report is the fifth in the Durex Network's Face of Global Sex research series which aims to promote debate around sexual health issues and provide pointers for future research and policy development.

The report discovered a high degree of ignorance of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) across the continent - and the UK is no exception.

The study involved more than 15,000 people aged 15 to 20 nine countries in Western Europe - Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK - and six in Eastern Europe - Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Turkey.

It explored their experience of sex education and its impact on their sexual health in terms of knowledge, attitudes and practices.

Durex Network Vice President Peter Roach said: "By raising these issues we hope that that this report proves useful in helping to inform educationalists and policy makers in the creation of sex and relationships education initiatives in the future."

Copyright © Press Association 2010


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"Its not only teenagers who are at risk. What about the 40 year olds that are divorcing and back on the dating scene? I'm seeing so many chlamydia infections. People think because they were sterilized and cant get pregnant, then they don't need a condom" - Christine, Cambridge

"I think education should be shown on television more instead of showing murderous films at the hours that the children are still awake. This is the way to bring awareness and education to the young ones. The advert does not need to be graphic, and this need to shown at least 3 to 5 times a day while this age group are back from school. The school, parents and medical should be the main focus" - Comfort, London

"It is a great shame these ideas are still prevalent when there is so much information available but obviously not getting to the very people who need it" - Barbara Wells, Dover