Teen sex on wane, condom use up

Teen sex on wane, condom use up

The nation's 16 and 17-year-olds are having less sex but using condoms more, says the Thai Health Promotion Foundation.

The findings come from surveys of second-year vocational students and their peers of comparable ages in Mathayom 5 (grade 11) between 2015 and 2017, said Chartwut Wangwol, director of the foundation's health risk control office, citing figures from the Department of Disease Control (DDC).

The second-year vocational (Por Wor Chor 2) students and Mathayom 5 students of both sexes attended the surveys as the department determined they represent students of sexually active age among those still in their school years. In 2017, on average 42% of male and female students in Por Wor Chor 2 had sex, down from nearly 50% in both sexes the year before. In 2017, 25% of Mathayom 5 male students and 17% of female students had sex. The numbers were almost the same in the year before. However, more students in both Por Wor Chor 2 and Mathayom 5 are using condoms.

In 2017, 69% of male students in Por Wor Chor 2 used condoms when they had sex for the first time, compared with 74% female students who asked their partners to use condoms. In the same year, 75% of male students in Mathayom 5 used condoms during their first sexual encounter while 77 female students asked their partners to use condoms. The foundation did not give comparable figures for the previous year of 2016 but confirmed there was an increase in the use of condoms among students of both sexes in Por Wor Chor 2 and Mathayom 5 levels.

Mr Chartwut said the condoms were not being used consistently by students. The reason cited was that students stopped using condoms as they developed trust after having gone "steady" with their partners for a while. This contributed to a proliferation of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV/Aids, syphilis and gonorrhea, he said.

Meanwhile, Supattra Nakapew, director of the Foundation for Aids Rights, has urged the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation to produce more condoms and sell them cheaply to improve prevention against STDs. She said the government had enough money to make about 40 million condoms a year, still well short of nationwide demand of 230 million condoms a year estimated by the DDC.

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