In countries like Australia, Chile, Colombia, Britain, Indonesia, Lithuania, Mexico, Poland, Singapore, Sweden and Turkey, nearly 40 percent people have already had unprotected sex with a new partner.
This figure rises to over 50 percent in China, Estonia, Kenya, Norway and Thailand.
The survey, entitled “Clueless or Clued Up: Your Right to be Informed about Contraception”, is a multi-national survey sponsored by Bayer Health Care, an international healthcare major.
It is supported by the WCD Youth Task Force and a coalition of 11 international organisations with interest in sexual health.
The survey was conducted in 26 countries and 5,426 young people in Asia Pacific including India, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, Pakistan and Taiwan as well as Europe, Latin America and the US as well as 600 people in Egypt, Kenya and Uganda.
According to experts, the figures reflect low information on contraception.
“It shows that too many young people either lack good knowledge about sexual health or do not feel empowered enough to ask for contraception,” says Rajat Ray, chairperson of Public Awareness Committee, Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI).
“…Or they have not learned the skills to negotiate contraceptive use with their partners to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies or STIs,” he says.
Asked why they had had unprotected sex with a new partner, 15 percent of respondents across Asia Pacific and 14 percent in Europe said they did not like contraception.
Sixteen percent in Asia Pacific said their partner preferred not to use contraceptives. As many as 32 percent of Indians said they were not at the risk of pregnancy.
But 40 percent of Indian respondents also said that they were embarrassed to ask for contraceptives.
“Lack of right information on contraception, leading to non-use or inaccurate use, is a huge issue in India,” says Vishwanath Koliwad, secretary general of the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI).
“Both men and women need to take family planning seriously and should share the responsibility of making informed choices,” he said.
Unplanned pregnancies emerge as a major global concern, particularly amongst the young. Worldwide, approximately 41 percent of the 208 million pregnancies each year are unintended.