Youngsters don't use condoms despite their safety: MTV sexual behaviour study

MUMBAI: In conjunction with the Aids epidemic update issued by Unaids and the World Health Organisation, MTV Networks International has released findings from the Staying Alive 2003 Global Sexual Behaviour Study.


The most startling findings indicate that while young people know that condoms can help prevent HIV/Aids, they are not using them the majority of the time they have sex. The survey found respondents fully understand (over 90 per cent) that using a condom will decrease the risk of getting HIV/Aids.

They also agree that it is a big deal to have sex occasionally without a condom, especially if you have various sexual partners. However, far less are actually following through: only half of the respondents used a condom the first time they had sex, and more than 70 per cent of the respondents who had more than one sexual partner in the past six months did not always use a condom.

An official release informs that the study has been posted on 20 MTV Web sites worldwide, in 14 different languages. It had over 9000 respondents in 29 countries including Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America and Russia. The survey indicates sexual behaviour trends among 14-34 year-olds around HIV/AIDS, including condom use, stigma and discrimination, trusted sources of information and sexual history. The study was conducted in collaboration with research partners Online Testing Exchange (OTX) and Ciao AG.

In terms of the media, 60 per cent of those surveyed look to the media as a trustworthy source of information, as well as rely on the media (excluding radio and Internet) to educate them about HIV/aids. On an average 43 per cent of the respondents considered their parents a trustworthy source of information regarding HIV/Aids but only 29 per cent of respondents actually felt that they learned from their parents.

Condoms were found to be the most preferred method of protection against HIV/AIDS (56 per cent), followed by being faithful to one partner (32 per cent) and practicing abstinence (12 per cent).The noticeable difference across markets was in the US, where the majority of non-sexually active respondents selected abstinence as their preferred method of protection (71 per cent).

On an encouraging note many of the stereotypes have been discredited. Respondents do not believe that Aids is a homosexual disease (97 per cent), or that sex with a virgin can cure AIDS (95 per cent), or that only drug addicts get Aids (97 per cent).

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