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Most Asian Teens Who Have Sex Engage in Risky Sexual Behaviors

Update Date: Jul 17, 2013 05:38 PM EDT

A new Canadian study reveals that nine out of 10 East Asian teens in British Columbia are virgins.

However, while 90 percent of East Asian adolescents in British Columbia are not sexually active, a new study reveals that those who are may engage in high-risk sexual behaviors.

"Most East Asian-Canadian adolescents have not had sex, but among those who have, one in four used alcohol or drugs before sex last time, and one-third have had two or more partners," lead researcher Yuko Homma, a post-doctoral research fellow with UBC School of Nursing, said in a news release. "Nearly half the girls had not used a condom."

"Since about half of these students were new Canadians and spoke a language other than English at home, we wonder if they might be missing key information in sexual health classes because of language barriers," added Elizabeth Saewyc, senior author and Professor with UBC School of Nursing.

Researchers said the latest study is the first population-based survey in Canada that questions East Asian adolescents their reasons for abstaining from sex.  The findings revealed that the top two reasons for waiting were not feeling ready and wanting to meet the right person.

Researchers in the study used data from the British Columbia Adolescent Health Survey to examine the prevalence of sexual behavior among both Canadian-born and immigrant East Asian adolescents in B.C. Researchers examined contraceptive use, health outcomes as a result of sexual activity and differences in behavior among male and female adolescents.

"Through the use of large-scale school surveys, this study shines an important light on previously unknown sexual health behaviors of East Asian adolescents. The results argue for the need to tailor programs that take into account where adolescents live," Nancy Edwards, Scientific Director, Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Institute of Population and Public Health, said in a statement.

The findings are published in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality

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