Extra small condoms for 12 year-old boys go on sale in SwitzerlandExtra small condoms for boys as young as 12 are going on sale in Switzerland.
Alexandra Williams in Geneva
Mar. 03, 2010
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Called the Hotshot, the condom has been produced after government research showed 12 to14-year-olds did not use sufficient protection when having sex.
The study, conducted on behalf of the Federal Commission for Children and Youth, interviewed 1,480 people aged 10 to 20.
It showed more 12 to 14-year-olds were having sex, in comparison with the 1990s.
The Hotshot condoms, which cost 7fr60 (£4.70) for a packet of six, have been created by Lamprecht AG, a leading condom manufacturer in Switzerland.
The company has said the UK would be "top priority" if they expanded abroad, considering that it has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe.
Nysse Norballe, a spokesman for the company, said: "At the moment we are only producing the Hotshot in Switzerland. But the UK is certainly a very attractive market since there is a very high rate of underage conception. The UK would definitely be top priority if we marketed abroad."
A standard condom has a diameter of 2ins (5.2cm) in comparison with the Hotshot's diameter of 1.7ins (4.5cm). Both are the same length – 7.4ins (19cm).
According to a German study of 12,970 13 to 20-year-olds, a quarter said a standard condom was too large.
Family planning groups and the Swiss Aids Federation campaigned to have the Hotshot produced after a number of studies, including the government study researched at the Centre for Development and Personality Psychology at Basel University.
Nancy Bodmer, who headed the research, said: "The result that shocked us concerned young boys who display apparently risky behaviour. They have more of a tendency not to protect themselves. They do not have a very developed sexual knowledge. They do not understand the consequences of what they are doing and leave the young girls to take care of the consequences.
"The results of this study suggest that early prevention makes sense."
The age of consent in Switzerland is 16, although if the age difference is not more than three years there will be no punishment. Other concessions exist if the older person is not more than 20 or believed the younger person to be at least 16.
The Swiss initiative comes as the UK government announces an overhaul of its teenage pregnancy strategy after new figures showed conception rate among 18s were not falling fast enough.
The UK has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe.
In 1999, the government pledged to halve the teenage conception rate within 10 years.
But data released last week from The Office for National Statistics shows it has clearly failed to make any significant impact.