Three in 10 young people having unprotected casual sex

Three out of 10 young people are still gambling with their lives by having casual sex without a condom, it emerged today.

A study found binge drinkers are also more likely to have one night stands and risk spreading sexually transmitted infections (STI) like HIV.

But researchers discovered people are more likely to use protection while on holiday.

Dr Grainne Cousins, health psychologist with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), revealed 88% used a condom abroad despite drinking more alcohol.

“It suggests people consider a sexual event outside their normal environment more risky,” said Dr Cousins.

“Because you know what school someone went to or know what their job is, you might decide this person is fairly decent.

“But what they do or what they speak like has absolutely nothing to do with their STI status.”

Serial monogamists are also partly to blame for the high rate of infectious diseases being transmitted as they move from partner to partner.

The study found 56% of people in a steady relationship used a condom, with the remaining couples opting to take the contraceptive pill after one to three months together.

“The reason they do that is because normally they trust their partner,” continued Dr Cousins.

“But two thirds of them have no understanding of their partner’s STI status and whether they have been tested for an STI or have one.”

The study, which featured 388 men and women aged an average 24 years, examined what factors influence people to use condoms.

It found people who intended to use condoms and carried them were more likely to use them.

“If people simply don’t want to use condoms they are not going to use them,” added Dr Cousins, who led a team funded by the Health Research Board.

“Some people know its wise to use a condom but do not like using them and feel it is unpleasant, so that is the type of behaviour we need to target.

“Buying a condom, having a condom available and discussing condom use are important factors as to whether a person’s intention is translated into behaviour.”

The results of the survey were outlined at the annual RCSI’s research day, where more than 100 researchers at the facility presented their most recent medical and scientific findings to peers.

MRSA, bone engineering, sleeping disorders, the use of audio analysis in the possible diagnosis of schizophrenia, and studies on a range of diseases including cancer and respiratory conditions, were among the ailments highlighted.

Professor Brian Harvey, RCSI’s director of research, said the think-thank allows different medics to exchange vital information which can be implemented

“The whole idea of our research is to see it in clinical use, so the findings can be moved quickly in to the surgery and clinics to improve diagnostics, therapy and care,” he added.

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