Research proves Australians are gambling with their sexual health
Australia at high-risk when it comes to STIs spreading
Australians are taking serious risks when it comes to protecting themselves against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS, a new global survey has revealed.
The findings of the Durex Global Sexual Wellbeing Survey – launched to mark World AIDS Day – highlight the high risk of contracting STIs and HIV/AIDs in this country. Sparking cause for national concern, Australians look to be taking more risks than our overseas neighbours.
For many, such risk-taking began at the start of their sex lives. More than half (57%) of all Australian men and women did not use any form of protection against HIV/AIDS or STIs when they lost their virginity.
Only around one in three (39% of women and 30% of men) were in a stable relationship when they first had sex.
However, some 18% of women and 12% of men revealed they had not been seeing their partner for very long.
“The findings of the global survey are extremely concerning. They show that sexually active Australians are putting themselves and their partners at serious risk of contracting, as well as spreading, STIs and HIV/AIDS,” said Desiree Spierings, Director of Sexual Health Australia.
Whilst Australians are often confident that their partner is free from STIs, the survey highlights that, in fact one in five (19%) of all those in a relationship admit to not knowing whether their partner has ever had an infection or not.
Further heightening the risk, sadly around one in eight men (13%) and 5% of Australian women who are in a relationship admitted to being unfaithful by also having sex with other partners.
When it comes to number of partners, Australian men claim to have gone on to have an average of 24 different sexual partners in total – far more than the British (17) or Americans (20), but significantly fewer than New Zealand men (44).
Australian women have had 11 partners on average, fewer than New Zealand women (13), but more than the British and Americans (both 10).
“Australians tend to have several sexual partners throughout their life time, and it’s evident that they won’t always know the sexual health or history of a partner. Through my work, I have heard many justifications for Australians having unprotected sex, such as: ‘I knew her for a while’, ‘he was a friend’, ‘she looked health and very fit’, ‘everyone is doing it’, ‘she looked trustworthy’ et cetera. It is important to realise that no matter how good these justifications may sound, they do not predict whether a person has an STI or not, and it only takes once to become infected. The global survey shows that people need to be more informed and educated about the risks, and take action by practicing safer sex,” continued Desiree.
Almost one in two Australian men and women (44%) agree they need to know more information about HIV/AIDS, particularly among 51% of the 18-24 and 25-34 age groups.
More than 29,000 people in 36 countries took part in the Durex survey, carried out online and in face-face interviews by Harris Interactive.
Stuart Terry Amy Whittaker
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Notes to Editors
The Global Sexual Wellbeing Survey study was commissioned by Durex, the world’s number one condom brand, which carries out a range of health promotion initiatives to encourage safer and better sex.
It was conducted online in 35 countries and face to face in
by Harris Interactive among a total of 29,003 adults (aged 18+) in 36 countries between 6th September and 3rd October 2011. The Australian results had a base of 1011 respondents. Nigeria
The data was weighted where necessary to bring it in line with the population or online population.
The 36 participating countries were
Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom and the . United States
For more information on Durex visit www.durex.com.au