Study: Some Young People Don't Use Condoms as Often as They Say...or Maybe Something Else?
Jim Liebelt Jim Liebelt's Blog
- 2009 Jan 22
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
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