Dumb kids getting
herpes, the clap
By Dan Perry
There is no doubt there is now more information
about safe sex to pass on to adolescents than there was in 1989,
but a new study suggests Canadian teens may not care.
According to the Canadian Youth, Sexual Health
and HIV/AIDS Study, conducted in 2002, one-third of girls and
one-half of boys among the over 11,000 students surveyed in
grades 7, 9 and 11 agreed it was "all right to have casual
The study also revealed some of today's youths'
conceptions about sexuality, including the following:
"The most surprising result is that, though fewer teens
are having sexual intercourse, those kids that are active are
taking more risks," said William Boyce, a professor in
the faculty of education at Queen's University who co-authored
"The outcome, we hope, is that the results will be taken
up by sex education [programming] to make it more precise and
lead to more discussion to identify where there's misunderstanding,
as opposed to just giving [students] the information,"
Sheila Cavanagh, a professor specializing in sex education
in Western's faculty of education, raised a few questions about
the findings. "It is apparent that teenagers are unable
to access condoms. It should be the concern of sex educators
to work toward making condoms more readily accessible in schools,"
Leanne Powell, a public health nurse with the Middlesex-London
Health Unit's Sexual Health Promotion Team, agreed with Cavanagh.
"I think that [in new relationships], teens do use protection,
but then they get into relationships where they'll often [only]
use the birth control pill. Studies will show adolescents are
known for serial monogamy - while they only have one partner
at once, they may have several relationships in a year,"
Cavanagh also said sex educators should demystify sexuality.
"There's so much fear surrounding teenage sexuality, people
forget that sex is pleasurable and it's the silence surrounding
sexuality that produces dangerous situations."