Objectives: To present comparative data on sexual initiation, and condom use and contraceptive pill use at last intercourse among adolescents in Europe, Israel and Canada.
Methods: Data were collected by self-report questionnaire from nationally representative samples of 15 year olds in school classrooms in two cross-national surveys undertaken in 24 countries in 2001/02 and 30 countries in 2005/06.
Results: In 2005/06 almost 27% of those surveyed had had sex and almost 86% reported using condoms or the contraceptive pill at last intercourse. This reflects little change since 2001/02 in prevalence of sexual initiation and a general increase in being well-protected at last intercourse. There were wide variations with up to a third of sexually active 15 year olds in some countries at risk for either Sexually Transmitted Infections or pregnancy, or both.
Conclusions: Most adolescents were well protected against Sexually Transmitted Infections and pregnancy, but an important minority remain at risk, with very wide cross-national differences.