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Summary of key findings

Regional patterns of risk for sexually transmitted infections in British Columbia

Publication: Health Reports 2010:21(3)

Authors: Kathleen N. Deering, Mark W. Tyndall and Mieke Koehoorn

Data: 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey

This study uses data from Statistics Canada’s 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) to investigate the relationship between age, geographic region and risk factors for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in British Columbia.

Sexual behaviours

Just over 9% of sexually active British Columbia residents aged 15 to 49 reported having had an STI. The highest percentages were in metropolitan regions: 7% at ages 15 to 24; 11% at ages 25 to 49.

Of those who had sex in the past year and who were not married/not common-law, or who were married/not common-law but had more than one sexual partner in the past year, 44% reported not using a condom the last time they had sexual intercourse. At ages 25 to 49, the percentage was highest—62.5%—in Northern non-metropolitan regions. This compared with 58% of their counterparts in Southern non-metropolitan regions and 53% of those in metropolitan areas. At ages 15 to 24, the percentage did not differ substantially by region (around 45%).

Factors associated with having STI / not using condoms

The odds of having had an STI were higher among 25- to 49-year-olds (compared with 15- to 24-year-olds), women and people who were single/never married and with regular drinkers.

The odds of not using a condom were significantly higher among some of the same groups: 25- to 49-year-olds, women and regular drinkers. People with less than secondary graduation had significantly lower odds of not using a condom than did postsecondary graduates. The odds of condom non-use for older individuals were particularly strong in the northern non-metropolitan regions, even when adjusting for sex, education and type of drinker. The odds of not using condoms were significantly higher for women compared with men in metropolitan and Southern non-metropolitan regions.

For more information about this article, contact Kathleen N. Deering (1-604-314-4350:, the School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia.