Summary of key findings

Sexual behaviour and condom use of 15- to 24-year-olds in 2003 and 2009/2010

Publication: Health Reports 2012:23(1) www.statcan.gc.ca/healthreports

Authors: Michelle Rotermann

Data: 2003 and 2009/2010 Canadian Community Health Survey

The use of condoms by individuals aged 15 to 24 increased between 2003 and 2009/2010, particularly among people reporting just one sexual partner.

Of those aged 15 to 24 with just one sexual partner, 67% used a condom in 2009/2010, up from 59% in 2003.

In 2009/10, 68% of sexually active people aged 15 to 24 reported they had used condoms the last time they had intercourse.  This proportion was up from 62% in 2003.

The use of condoms declined with age in 2009/2010, falling from 80% among those aged 15 to 17 to 63% among those aged 20 to 24.  This was also the case in 2003.  This pattern prevailed among both sexes.  

Regionally, the prevalence of condom use among individuals aged 15 to 24 was higher than the national average in Ontario, Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.  Between 2003 and 2009/2010, their use increased in New Brunswick, Ontario and Alberta.   
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Of those with just one sexual partner, 67% used a condom in 2009/2010, up from 59% in 2003.

As was the case in 2003, the use of condoms by those aged 15 to 24 was more common among males than females.  In 2009/2010, 73% of males reported using condoms the last time they had intercourse, compared with 63% of females.

Data on sexual activity were not significantly different from 2003.

Self-reported survey data also showed that trends in sexual activity did not change significantly during this seven-year period.  As was the case in 2003, two-thirds of individuals age 15 to 24 had had sexual intercourse at least once in 2009/2010.  About one-third had first done so when they were younger than 17.

In 2009/2010, 66% of individuals aged 15 to 24 reported that they had had sexual intercourse at least once.  The likelihood of being sexually active increased with age.  About 30% of teenagers 15 to 17 reported having had sex.  This proportion rose to 68% of individuals aged 18 to 19 and 86% of those aged 20 to 24.  

Also, about one-third of sexually active people aged 15 to 24 reported having had sexual intercourse with more than one partner in the 12 months prior to the survey. 

About 39% of sexually active males had had intercourse with more than one partner, compared with 25% of females.  The percentage reporting more than one sexual partner was higher among those aged 15 to 17 (35%) than among those aged 20 to 24 (30%).

Full article

For more information about this article, contact Michelle Rotermann (1-613-951-3166; michelle.rotermann@statcan.gc.ca), Health Analysis Division, Statistics Canada.