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Young people 'ignorant' of sexual health

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A survey of young people has revealed they have significant misconceptions and lack knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases and reproductive health.

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

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

But British young people are not alone in their ignorance, according to the Europe-wide investigation of knowledge, attitudes and practices commissioned by Durex.

The study - called The Face Of Global Sex 2010: They won’t know unless we tell them - reveals a high degree of ignorance about STIs across Europe.

It was the fifth in the Durex Network’s research series and involved more than 15,000 people aged between 15 and 20 in nine Western European countries - Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK - and six in Eastern Europe - Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Turkey.

Durex Network vice president Peter Roach said: “By raising these issues we hope 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.”

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