By Megan McChesney
1. The current teen pregnancy rate in Canada:
a) Is at an all-time high
b) Is at an all-time low
c) Has not changed much in 25 years
2. What percentage of Grade 10 and 12 students have a hard time talking to their parents about sex?
a) About 10%
b) About 33%
c) About 67%
3. What has the most influence over when a teen has sex for the first time?
a) The media (TV, Internet and movies)
b) Friends’ behaviour
c) Parents’ opinions
4. Where do teens prefer to get their information about healthy relationships (in order of preference)?
a) Experience, Friends, Parents
b) TV, Experience, Books
c) Friends, Internet, School
5. Where do teens prefer to get information about how to prevent pregnancy and STI/D transmission (in order of preference)?
a) Friends, Parents, Doctor/Clinic
b) School, Internet, Friends
c) School, Doctor/Clinic, Parents
6. Rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are highest among:
a) 15- to 24-year-old males
b) 15- to 24-year-old females
c) 29- to 34-year-old females
7. Among female Grade 9 students, what is the top reason given for not using a condom during last intercourse?
a) Don’t like them
b) Used something else
c) Wasn’t expecting to have sex
8. What are some symptoms that someone infected with Chlamydia would experience?
a) painful urination, itchy genitals, strange discharge
b) many infected with chlamydia have no symptoms at all
c) both statements above are true
9. The current age of sexual consent is:
a) 14 years old
b) 16 years old
c) 18 years old
10. If condoms are made readily available to teenagers, what is the impact?
a) They are more likely to have sex earlier, and more often
b) They are more likely to have safer sex
c) There is no impact
1 Answer: B Statistics Canada and other sources show that the teen pregnancy rate has declined consistently over recent years, particularly among 15- to 17-year-olds. One cause for this decline is likely the increased availability of birth control pills.
2 Answer: C In a study of 2,353 Grade 10 and 12 students done by the University of Regina and Planned Parenthood Regina, only 33.6% of females and 31.7% of males said they found it easy to talk to their parents about sex.
3 Answer: B According to the same study, the more friends who have had sex, the more likely a teen is to have sex for the first time. Perceived parental approval/disapproval has little bearing.
4 Answer: A Nearly 80% of both sexes of Grade 10 and 12 students said that experience, friends and parents were their main and preferred source of information on healthy relationships, as found by the Regina study.
5 Answer: C Though they say that they currently get this information from friends, as well as school, parents and doctor/clinics, they’d prefer it was coming from the latter three.
6 Answer: B Reported rates information from Health Canada suggests that STIs disproportionately affect youth in Canada: HPV rates are highest among women under 25; gonorrhea is most common among those aged 15 to 24; and chlamydia rates have been climbing consistently among 15- to 19-year-old females since 1997.
7 Answer: C The same survey found that over 35% of Grade 9 female students said that the reason they didn’t use a condom during their last intercourse was because they weren’t expecting sex, and were thus unprepared. Other reasons given were: they don’t like them (around 16%); they used another method of protection (around 17%); and they have a faithful partner (around 14%).
8 Answer: C While there are a number of symptoms associated with chlamydia in addition to those listed — pain in lower abdomen or penis and bleeding in between periods or during intercourse — many who are infected have no symptoms at all. According to the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 75% of females and 50% of males who have chlamydia are asymptomatic, and can pass the STI along without knowing it.
9 Answer: A Canadian law currently holds that youth aged 14 and older can consent to sexual activity with a person two or more years older than they are. That said, it’s illegal for an adult to engage in sexual activity with someone who is under 18 years of age if the adult is in a position of trust or authority. Bill C-22, which was proposed in June 2006, will endeavour to raise the age of consent to 16, but include a “close-in-age” exemption of five years. The bill will likely be debated in Parliament sometime in 2007.
10 Answer: B Various studies cited by the Sex Information and Education Council of Canada have shown that having condom distribution programs for adolescents does not result in more frequent or earlier sexual activity. Alternatively, students at schools where condoms are available are significantly more likely to use them. One study showed that 72% of students at schools with condom distribution programs had used a condom at last intercourse, versus 56% of students at schools without condom availability programs.
Maybe it’s not fun, and maybe it’s not easy, but an open channel of communication when it comes to sex can have a huge impact on your teen’s sexual health. Here are a few tips:
As a teen, Megan McChesney once asked her mother a question about sex that was so surprising the car nearly wound up in a ditch. Mom still answered her question. Megan went on to write about sexuality for a variety of sources, including a stint as a sexuality columnist for the Toronto Star.