Youngsters irresponsible towards unprotected sex despite HIV risk

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New Delhi, Mar 28 (UNI) A significant percentage of young people continue to have unprotected sex despite the fact that HIV and AIDS tops their list of worries when it comes to sex, a new global research has revealed.

The survey, commissioned by The Body Shop and MTV Networks International, reveals 52 per cent of young people list HIV and AIDS as their biggest concern but 34 per cent surveyed had unprotected sex with two or more partners.

Research found a strong gender divide with men more worried than women about getting AIDS but engaging in riskier behaviour. When asked, only 44 per cent of men, compared to 68 percent of women, would refuse their partner sex if they were not wearing a condom.

''This survey shows that differences between men and women remain powerful. Men are more scared of AIDS, yet do less about it, whilst too many women make carrying a condom the man's responsibility for fear of being labeled 'loose.' The result is that both sexes put themselves at risk. Both need to take more responsibility for their sexual health,'' said Georgia Arnold, Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility at MTV International.

Despite their concern - over half of men (56 per cent) fear being infected - only four in ten would say no to sex without a condom. By contrast, almost seven in ten women would refuse their partner sex if they were not wearing a condom. Men are more likely to rely on factors such as 'trust' and 'healthy' physical appearance when it comes to having unprotected sex.

The survey was unveiled at the launch of the 'Move Your Lips' campaign to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS amongst young people.

The campaign is raising funds for MTV's Staying Alive Foundation HIV and AIDS education campaigns through the sale of The Body Shop limited edition Guarana Lip Butter in over 60 countries and 2000 stores. MTV is supporting the campaign by running TV advertisements across all its networks to over 508 million households in 160 countries.

The survey took place in 10 countries: South Africa, Singapore, Mexico, Sweden, India, UK, Russia, Hong Kong, Germany and the USA, with young people, aged 16-24 (18-24 in South Kong, Singapore and India) taking part in each country. To qualify for the survey respondents had to have had at least one sexual experience. All interviews were carried out online using nationwide online panels and took place between 8 to 15 February 2008.

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