The study, which is the largest of its kind in Sweden to date, showed that Swedish youngsters only used a condom during sexual intercourse three times out of ten.
One of the reasons behind the disappointing numbers is that young Swedes put too much trust in contraceptive pills and too little in condoms, according to Karin Stenqvist, an expert on sexually transmitted disease from Gothenburg University.
“Because the contraceptive pill is supposed to make you 99 percent safe from unwanted pregnancy and the condom 92 percent, many feel that the pill is safer. But that only applies if the pill is taken meticulously,” she told the Local.
The study also showed that 60 percent of those that had become pregnant had been on the pill or using an intra-uterine device like the coil when they conceived.
As a rule, the recommendations in Sweden are to use both the pill and a condom. The former to avoid unwanted pregnancy and the latter to avoid STDs. But according to Karin Stenqvist this works against the use of a condom.
“This is not a feasible alternative for the broad public and there are few young people that choose to use both. Instead the condom becomes a second choice and often is not used at all,” she said.
To promote condom use, it is also imperative that boys and young men be encouraged to make a more active contraception choice. Today youth clinics cater mostly to young women seeking contraceptive advice.
“Boys must be welcomed at youth clinics and be taught to use a condom. They should not be excluded from this choice,” said Stenqvist.
In daily Dagens Nyheter on Tuesday, Karin Stenqvist, along with two others wrote a debate article urging the Swedish health service to throw out outdated advice centred around the contraceptive pill and upgrade the condom as a adequate mode of protection against both unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
In Sweden it has been practice to prescribe the contraceptive pill to sexually active women at an early age in order to beat teenage pregnancy and cut abortion rates.
Despite this, Sweden has the highest number of teenage abortions in the Nordic countries.
15,000 young Swedes between the ages of 15 and 29 took part in the survey answering questions regarding their sexuality carried out by Gothenburg University.