Canadian university students say they take sexual health seriously, but condom use and knowledge low, Trojan study finds

Students are using condoms for birth control, less concerned about STI prevention

TORONTO, Oct. 22, 2013 /CNW/ - A newly-released survey conducted for the makers of Trojan® Condoms found that students say they are taking their sexual health seriously, with 88 per cent agreeing that their sexual health contributes to their overall health and well-being.

The study found that almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of post-secondary students across the country had a sexual encounter within the past year and although 72 per cent of students engaged in intercourse during their last sexual encounter, only about half (51 per cent) reported using a condom. Students listed their main reason for using condoms as birth control (54 per cent) followed by both birth control and STI prevention (38 per cent) and STI prevention on its own (6 per cent).

The Trojan/SIECCAN Sexual Health Study, conducted by Leger Marketing, surveyed 1,500 university students across Canada and was commissioned by Trojan and developed in partnership with SIECCAN (The Sex Information and Education Council of Canada). The goal was to gain insight into the sexual health related experiences, knowledge and behaviours of young adult Canadians and to determine priority areas where their sexual health education needs improvement.

"We're seeing that about half of Canadian college and university students are using condoms when they have sex," says Alex McKay, Ph.D. and Research Coordinator at SIECCAN. "Rates of sexually transmitted infection are high in the young adult age group so the results of this study clearly show that there remains much more work to do in terms of encouraging young people to better protect themselves against not only unwanted pregnancy but especially STIs."

THE KNOWLEDGE GAP
In terms of the knowledge portion of the survey, despite 62 per cent ranking their knowledge of sexual health as "excellent" or "very good," the majority of students (74 per cent) scored five out of ten or lower on a sexual health knowledge quiz.

Students agree that their sexual health education could have been better - 43 per cent ranked the sexual health education they received in high school as fair or poor, and 20 per cent ranked the sexual health information available on campus as fair or poor (with another 23 per cent preferring not to answer). In addition, only 9 per cent have completed a university level course focused on human sexuality and almost two thirds (63 per cent) turn to the internet for most of their information related to sexual health.

"The knowledge portion of the survey was developed with the aim of testing students' knowledge of facts that young Canadian adults should know in order to effectively protect and enhance their sexual and reproductive health," said Alex McKay, Ph.D. and Research Coordinator at SIECCAN. "The results are telling as they suggest that these students haven't received the necessary sexual health education and services from schools and health care providers for them to be well informed."

Consistent with low concerns around contracting a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) - (56 per cent reported they are not concerned), the knowledge portion of the study found that over half (56 percent again) were not aware that Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in Canada.

If one message is getting through to students it's that condoms are highly effective at preventing unplanned pregnancy. The vast majority indicated the correct answer when asked how effective condoms are at preventing unplanned pregnancy.

CONDOMS AND PLEASURE
The survey found that ratings of sexual pleasure for both males and females in various types of relationships, with the exception of females in "committed dating" relationships, were not significantly different between those who did use a condom and those who did not.

"This is an exciting finding as it demonstrates that you can protect yourself and your partner and still have great sex," says Robin Milhausen, PhD and Associate Professor at the University of Guelph, who is helping to analyze data from the survey. "Some young people have the idea that using condoms will reduce sexual pleasure - but this study, among other recent research, suggests that this is not necessarily the case.  It is critical that sexual education highlight the ways in which condom use can be sexy, pleasurable and fun."

Other notable findings from the Trojan/SIECCAN Sexual Health Study include:

  • Around one-quarter (27 per cent of males and 23 of females) have never had sex (oral, vaginal, anal).
  • Condoms and the pill are students preferred methods of contraception. 45 per cent of students said condoms were their preferred method of contraception, and 38 per cent said it was the pill.*
  • Just over half (51 per cent) of students used condoms the last time they had sex.
  • 23 per cent of students believe a vaccine is now available to prevent HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), with another 21 percent reporting they don't know whether one exists or not.
  • Roughly two-thirds (67 per cent of males and 80 per cent of females) report being happy or very happy with the sexual part of their lives.
  • More than one-third of respondents (34 per cent) described their most recent sexual encounter within a casual relationship such as a "hook-up," a "booty call" or involving a "friend with benefits."

*Out of those respondents who selected one preferred method of contraception

"We are proud to have partnered with SIECCAN to commission this survey and release valuable insights that can be used to inform and improve sexual health education and services for Canadian university students." says Veronique Hamel, Director of Marketing and Development at Church & Dwight Canada. "This demonstrates our commitment to bringing sexual health to the forefront as we work to provide leading educational resources and donations across the country to improve the overall health of Canadians, and continue to develop condoms, lubricants, and personal massagers that are reliable and revolutionary in terms of delivering on pleasure."

ABOUT THE TROJAN/SIECCAN SEXUAL HEALTH STUDY
Data was collected between December 6, 2012 and January 2, 2013, by Leger Marketing in partnership with Uthink Online, a market research organization that specializes in students and youth. Participants were Leger and Uthink research panelists, selected to meet sample specifications (between ages of 18 and 24, currently enrolled in a Canadian university).  Provincial and age quotas were established based on data from Statistics Canada in order to ensure representativeness of university students across Canada.

ABOUT TROJAN®
Trojan Condoms, owned by Church & Dwight Co, Inc., are the number one selling and pharmacist recommended condom brand in Canada. Trojan® brand products are of the highest quality with a long heritage of reliability and satisfaction. Trojan® products are distributed by Church & Dwight Canada Corp, a leader in OTC health care, family planning and personal care with brands including; First Response®, Gravol®, Rub A535®, Ovol®, Orajel®, Spinbrush®, Arm & Hammer® and Nair®. Numerous Trojan® brand products are packaged at Church & Dwight Canada's 155,000 square foot manufacturing site in Montreal, Quebec. The manufacturing plant is equipped with an R&D laboratory and quality assurance facility. Trojan Condoms increase pleasure while reducing the risk. To learn more, please visit Trojan.ca, weknowsex.ca and churchdwight.ca.

SOURCE Trojan

For further information:

Cayley Kochel
Veritas Communications
Phone : 647-330-3476
Email: kochel@veritasinc.com