Catherine Mercer and colleagues asked 11,161 men and women aged 16-44 about their relationships in the past year. They found that 56.4% of men and 53.3% of women reported having used a condom the first time they had sex with a new partner.
However, this proportion declined with age, with only 38.1% of men and 28.8% of women aged 35-44 reporting having done so.
Dr Mercer said the finding was concerning, particularly given the rising prevalence of STIs among people in their 30s and 40s and the fact that the proportion of partnerships formed by this group will increase as more couples divorce.
‘Increasing rates of STIs diagnosed among those in their 30s and 40s suggest that interventions that promote consistent condom use with new partners are urgently required, not just for young people as has been the focus recently, but for people in their 30s and 40s and older,’ she said.
International Journal of Epidemiology 2008;1-9
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