Here’s something to be taken into account when claims and counter-claims are being made about the relative importance of abstinence and contraceptive use in the ups and downs of teenage pregnancy and STIs. A study by Eve Rose of Emory University and colleagues conducted among 715 black women and girls ages 15 to 21, who were enrolled in an HIV prevention programme, showed that one third (34 per cent) of those reporting condom use every time they had sex had physical evidence (Y chromosome DNA in vaginal fluid) to the contrary.
The researchers say they do not know whether the participants were mistaken, had misused the condoms or had provided the "socially desirable" response. Whatever the reason, the unfortunate result, in terms of possible HIV transmission, are the same, they say. The study's findings also have implications for young people's sexual health and studies on the issue, the researchers said. Using both self reports and objective measures of condom use might provide a more accurate understanding of young people's sexual behaviour and their STI risk. ~ Reuters Health, Jan 14