International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 54, Supplement 2, pp 209–215 | Cite as

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

  • Saoirse Nic GabhainnEmail author
  • Adriana Baban
  • William Boyce
  • Emmanuelle Godeau
  • the HBSC Sexual Health Focus Group
Original article



To present comparative data on sexual initiation, and condom use and contraceptive pill use at last intercourse among adolescents in Europe, Israel and Canada.


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.


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.


Most adolescents were well protected against Sexually Transmitted Infections and pregnancy, but an important minority remain at risk, with very wide cross-national differences.


Adolescence Sexual behaviour Contraception use Cross-national comparisons HBSC 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saoirse Nic Gabhainn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Adriana Baban
    • 2
  • William Boyce
    • 3
  • Emmanuelle Godeau
    • 4
  • the HBSC Sexual Health Focus Group
  1. 1.Health Promotion Research Centre, School of Health SciencesNational University of IrelandGalwayIreland
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Babes-BolyaiCluj-NapocaRomania
  3. 3.Social Program Evaluation GroupQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  4. 4.Service Médical du Rectorat de Toulouse, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Unit 558University of Toulouse IIIToulouseFrance

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