Up to a quarter of sexually active young people do not use any contraception with new partners, according to a new report.
Youngsters view personal hygiene as the most important consideration when preparing for a date which could lead to sex - ahead of contraception - in the worldwide survey that included young Britons.
In the UK, 16% of young people who admitted having unprotected sex simply “forgot” to use contraception, 19% said they had forgotten due to drunkenness and 13% said their partner had preferred not to use it.
And 32% of young Britons also admitted they were confused about contraception, complaining of a lack of available information about the different methods. A total of 19% of UK respondents believed the “withdrawal method” would be effective.
The survey was carried out by Marie Stopes International ahead of World Contraception Day on September 26.
Tracey McNeill Vice President of UK and Europe at Marie Stopes International said the results highlighted the need for GPs and nurses to discuss all the contraception options for young people when they visited for unrelated issues.
“This survey shows that more than half of the respondents had already had sex by their 18th birthday and the government’s own data shows 83 per cent are sexually active by the same age. This highlights a need for GPs and nurses to begin the contraception discussion with younger patients and continue the discussion with older patients.
“It is concerning that as many as one in four sexually active young people are putting themselves at risk of unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections by failing to use contraception with a new partner.
“We encourage GPs and nurses to talk about contraception with all patients, particularly young patients who may be considering engaging in sexual relationships. We would like to see greater discussion about long-acting reversible contraception in particular, which will provide protection against unplanned pregnancy to a growing number of young people who are forgetting to use contraception in the heat of the moment.”
Marie Stopes is calling on the coalition government to put sex and relationships education back on the agenda and ensure that all schools, including faith schools, teach a standardised curriculum to all 15-year-olds.