Most teens in Canada’s Northwest Territories not practising safe sex, survey says

A new survey commissioned by the group Fostering Open Expression among Youth (FOXY), which studies and promotes sexual health among young people, found that most sexually active teens in the N.W.T. do not use condoms regularly. (MediaForMedical/UIG/Getty Images)
Most sexually active teenagers in the Northwest Territories report not using condoms regularly.

That’s one of the findings of a new survey commissioned by Fostering Open Expression among Youth (FOXY), a group that studies and promotes sexual health among young people.

“The consistent condom use is 43 per cent among girls and 52 per cent among boys,” said Dr. Carmen Logie, one of the researchers based out of the University of Toronto.

“So that’s less than half. Ideally what [the United Nations] and other agencies want is it to be 100 per cent,” she said.

A total of 610 people from 17 communities filled out the survey. They ranged in age from 13 to 18. Consistent condom use was defined as using condoms every time during sex over the previous three months.

Dr. Carmen Logie was one of the researchers who worked on a survey of sex and sexual practices among teens in the Northwest Territories. (Submitted)

Only 19 per cent of the respondents said they were sexually active. Those who were sexually active reported more drug and alcohol use than those who were not.

Under-reported results?

Logie said some of the results, such as sexual activity, may be under-reported because of negative social stigmas around young people being sexually active.

“There’s probably more youth engaging in sex,” said Logie. “And maybe they’re also over-reporting condom use … But if they are over-reporting, it’s still very low.”

The survey indicated that girls reported having more knowledge of sexually transmitted infections, being more sexually active than boys and being more likely to use alcohol or drugs.

Logie said the survey will help shape FOXY programming and provides some feedback on how effective the organization has been at promoting sexual health and safe sex practices among youth in the N.W.T., where the rate of sexually transmitted infections is about seven times higher than in Canada as a whole.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Indigenous Canadians dying due to racial bias in health-care system, researcher says, CBC News

Finland: Cancer rates in Arctic Finland below average, Yle News

United States: Community health aides, Alaska’s unique solution for rural health care, Alaska Public Media

Richard Gleeson, CBC News

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