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Last Updated: Monday, 23 April 2007, 23:16 GMT 00:16 UK
Students 'ignorant about condoms'
Student couples
Students lack knowledge about condoms
Many university students in the UK lack basic understanding about condoms, a survey suggests.

A third of those polled thought latex condoms had holes in them large enough to allow HIV to pass through.

And more than one in 10 of the 2,200 who took part in the survey did not know how to put a condom on correctly.

The Terrence Higgins Trust, which carried out the online research, has called for safe-sex education to be made compulsory in schools.

The survey, carried out in conjunction with the National Union of Students (NUS), also found that 16% of students mistakenly believed using two condoms at once was safer than using just one.

And almost a quarter think other forms of contraception protect from sexually transmitted infections.

University students are no smarter than many other young people when it comes to sexual health
Lisa Power, Terrence Higgins Trust

One in 10 believed condoms should be stored in a warm place, which may lead them to perish.

Seven respondents claimed they thought condoms could be washed and re-used.

Playground myths

Lisa Power, head of policy at Terrence Higgins Trust said: "University students are no smarter than many other young people when it comes to sexual health.

"They are just as likely to believe myths about condoms and to have got more of their sex education in the playground than the classroom.

"We spend a fortune educating students, but leave them ignorant about key issues in their adult lives. It's hardly surprising that rates of sexually transmitted infections are soaring."

The Terrence Higgins Trust is currently campaigning for sex and relationships education to be compulsory in schools.

They argue that many young people are only taught the biology of conception and miss out on information around negotiating safer sex, how to use condoms and how to deal with relationships.

Veronica King, NUS vice-president of welfare said: "These results are a timely reminder of the value of good sex education - and clearly many more resources are needed to improve awareness.

"To ensure that the whole student population is healthy and behaving responsibly there is more to be done in encouraging discussion and continuing education on the sometimes taboo subject of sex and sexual health.

"Some of the answers may seem comic, but failing to practice safe sex is no joke which is why NUS is pleased to be working with THT and to play our role in raising awareness of this vital issue."

Sex education 'too biological'
23 May 06 |  Education
Sex infections continue to rise
30 Jun 05 |  Health


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