How well protected are sexually active 15-year olds? Cross-national patterns in condom and contraceptive pill use 2002-2006

Int J Public Health. 2009 Sep;54 Suppl 2:209-15. doi: 10.1007/s00038-009-5412-x.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Canada
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Contraceptives, Oral / therapeutic use*
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Safe Sex / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Contraceptives, Oral