Objective To describe and compare sexual behaviour patterns in 1996 (before the explosion of the HIV epidemic in 2000) and 2006, and the correlates of high-risk sexual behaviour in Estonia.
Methods Data on selected sexual behaviour characteristics were obtained by interviewing a probability sample of the adult population in Estonia in 1996 and 2006.
Results Data were available from 2441 sexually experienced women and 1994 men, and 3005 women and 2812 men in the year 2006. There were no changes in the proportion of sexually experienced adults, frequency of intercourse, or same gender sexual relationships. There was an increase in sex under the age of 16 (women: 8.4% vs 14.1% adjusted OR (AOR) 2.05 (1.67 to 2.53); men: 21.9% vs 28.0% AOR 1.58 (1.35 to 1.84)). From 1996 to 2006, the proportion reporting intercourse with a casual partner in the previous 12 months decreased significantly for women (10.7% vs 6.0% AOR 0.54 (95% CI 0.41 to 0.72)) and men, (24.0% vs 16.5% AOR 0.71 (0.59 to 0.85)) in parallel with a decrease in those reporting never using condoms during intercourse with a casual partner (for women: 49.3% vs 19.2% AOR 0.27 (0.14 to 0.51); and men: 35.4% vs 20.2% AOR 0.37 (0.25 to 0.56)). In 2006, the odds for not always using condoms in intercourse with casual partners increased significantly with age (eg, ≤24 vs ≥45: AOR 3.46 (1.68 to 7.13)), and were higher among those widowed/divorced/separated (AOR 2.35 (CI 1.20 to 4.60)).
Conclusions From 1996 to 2006, a significant reduction in high-risk sexual behaviour has occurred in Estonia across all age groups and genders.
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