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More Pinoy youth engage in risky sexual activities, survey confirms

Today, 32% of young Filipinos aged 15-24 has engaged in pre-marital sex (PMS), 9% higher than 2002 survey, according to the results of 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality (YAFS 4) study.

YAFS 4 is the latest national survey on the Filipino youth aged 15 to 24 years old, tackling information on sexual and non-sexual risk behaviors, and its determinants at the national and regional levels.

In 2002 survey, the percentage of young women engaged in PMS was only 16% while young men showed 31.2%. Ten years later, 28.7% of young women now have PMS experience compared to 35.5% among young men.  

Researchers reported that 78% of the youth’s first PMS was done without any form of protective contraception, which indicated their higher risks of pregnancy and/or sexually-transmitted infections. In fact, the percentage of pregnancy among young women aged 15-19 also doubled from 6.3% to 13.6%.

Youth also revealed that 7.3% of them already engaged in casual sex and 3.5% had FUBU experience (regular sex without emotional attachment).

“Clearly, what we see here is not only the increasing level of premarital sexual engagement of young people, but that it has also evolved into other forms of sexual activities. The more worrisome though is the fact that most of these activities go unprotected,” said Prof. Maria Paz Marquez, one of the authors of the study.

While more youth need protection on risky sexual activities and new young mothers urgently call for better reproductive health services, the Supreme Court is yet to issue a final decision on the pending implementation of Reproductive Health (RH) act. The law hopes to improve access on reproductive health services and education, particularly among youth.

This study is conducted by the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) and the Demographic Research and Development Foundation, and co-funded by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST), Australian Government, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Department of Health (DOH).