MANILA -- More than 70% of young Filipinos are putting themselves at risk of catching sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies, according to a recent study released Thursday.
Conducted by the Demographic Research & Development Foundation and the University of Philippines Population Institute, the survey of 15- to 24-year-olds found that 78% of young Filipinos had their first sexual encounter unprotected.
"Clearly what we see here is not only the increasing level of premarital sexual engagement of young people, but that is has evolved into other forms of sexual activities. The more worrisome though is the fact that most of these activities go unprotected," Prof. Maria Paz Marquez, one of the authors of the study, said.
The same study also found that one out of three young Filipinos had engaged in sex before marriage, with the results being substantially up from 23% back in 2002.
Of those polled, 36% of young men said they had engaged in premarital sex to 29% among young women. In 2002, the percentage of young women with premarital sex experience stood at 16%, almost half the level found among young men.
"While the increasing pattern of premarital sexual activity is expected, what we found notable in this new data is the narrowing gap in the level of premarital sex prevalence between young men and women," Marquez said.