Use of birth control pills and condoms among 17-19-year-old adolescents in Norway: contraceptive versus protective behaviour?

AIDS Care. 1992;4(4):371-80. doi: 10.1080/09540129208253108.


This article addresses the relationship between sexual risk behaviour and contraceptive behaviour, and considers whether adolescents who use condoms are practising birth control or STD protective behaviour. The material comprised a representative sample of 3000 Norwegians aged 17-19 years. Data were collected by anonymous self-administered questionnaires. The response-rate was 63%. At the first sexual intercourse 51% of the adolescents used condoms and 7% birth control pills. At the most recent intercourse 31% used condoms and 38% the pill. Use of the pill was widespread among adolescents with high coital frequency and few coital partners. Use of condoms was not particularly widespread among adolescents who reported a relatively large number of coital partners. Irrespective of the number of years they had been coitally active there was no significant difference between those who intended to use condoms at the next sexual intercourse and those who did not as regards their beliefs about condoms as protection against STDs, HIV and unintended pregnancies. The results from this study indicate that the majority of adolescents who use contraception do this for protection against unintended pregnancy and not for protection against STDs. The preference for the pill may make teenagers less prepared to practise STD protective behaviour in specific situations.

PIP: A study was conducted to examine the relationship between coital frequency and risk behavior in relation to the number of coital partners and contraceptive/protective behavior and to study changes in contraceptive/protective techniques from 1st to most recent sexual intercourse. Data were gathered from 3000 Norwegians aged 17-19 years in anonymous self-administered questionnaires. A 63% response rate was achieved. 51% reported having used condoms at 1st intercourse, while 7% used contraceptive pills. 31%, however, used condoms most recently, while 38% employed the pill. Contraceptive pills were used most commonly among respondents with high coital frequency and few partners. Condom use was not particularly widespread among those with relatively large numbers of coital partners. Concerning beliefs about the ability of condoms to protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STD), HIV, and pregnancy, no significant differences were observed between those planning to use condoms and those not planning to use them at next coitus. In sum, results indicate that the majority of youths use condoms to protect against pregnancy, not STDs. The tendency toward serial monogamous relationships increases dependence upon the pill at the expense of the condom and makes sexually active teens less prepared to protect themselves against STDs in certain situations. Teens need to be taught about the protective value of condoms, with greater condom availability ensured where youths congregate.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / transmission
  • Adolescent
  • Condoms*
  • Contraception Behavior*
  • Contraceptives, Oral / administration & dosage*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Norway
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / transmission


  • Contraceptives, Oral