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Jim Liebelt Christian Blog and Commentary

Study: Some Young People Don't Use Condoms as Often as They Say...or Maybe Something Else?

  • Jim Liebelt
    Jim Liebelt
    Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
  • 2009 Jan 22
  • Comments

I found the report of this study intriguing. The headline, "Study: Some Young People Don't Use Condoms as Often as They Say" provides the reader with a conclusion based on the research undertaken. But, it seems to me that from the report's details, the conclusion is called into question. I'm no scientist, but it appears that any of the following could also be the correct conclusion: "Many Young People Lie When Asked About Sexual Practices," or "Some Young People Don't Use Condoms Correctly," or "Condom Failure Rates Might be as High as 34%."

Most likely, the truth involves some combination of all of the reasons. But, apparently, the research fell short in terms of investigating all of the possibilities.  So, I'm wondering why the conclusion researchers drew from the study was drawn so narrowly. Your thoughts?

Researchers found that among 715 young women, many of those who said they'd consistently used a condom over the past two weeks had objective evidence that this was not the case. One-third tested positive for evidence of sperm in fluid samples that were taken.

The findings have implications for young people's sexual health, as well as studies on the matter, researchers say.

Studies that use both self-reports and objective measures of condom use may offer a clearer picture of young people's sexual behavior and risks of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), according to the researchers, led by Eve Rose of Emory University in Atlanta.

The study included women between the ages of 15 and 21 who were enrolled in an HIV-prevention program. They were asked how many times they'd had sex in the past two weeks and how many times they had used a condom. They also provided fluid samples to be tested for Y-chromosome DNA -- evidence of sperm.

Of the women who'd had sex in the past two weeks, 186 said they'd used a condom every time. However, 34 percent of these women had Y- chromosome DNA in their fluid samples.

The reasons for the discrepancy -- whether the women were mistaken, had misused the condoms, or had given the "socially desirable" response when asked about condom use -- are unknown.

In the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Rose and her colleagues make the point that "regardless of whether the problem is condom user error or misreporting, the unfortunate result, in terms of risk for STDs and HIV, is the same."

Source: Fox News/Reuters
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,479994,00.html

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