Picture: Supplied by Durex

Tshwane – As the world marks World Aids Day on Friday, concerns are being raised over the unabated risky behaviour among young people, particularly unprotected sex, as research shows ambivalence towards safe sex by the younger generation.

The 2017 Durex Global Sex Survey, which saw 29 735 participants surveyed from 36 countries, including South Africa, revealed that more than half (54 percent) of 18 to 24-year-olds have risked unprotected sex. 

"More than a quarter would be embarrassed to be caught carrying a condom by a date. This highlights that safe sex is no longer part of the dating culture for the younger generation,” said condom manufacturer Durex.
 
“Newly released data also revealed the scale of ambivalence towards safe sex among 18 to 24-year-olds, with 16 percent admitting they have never considered protecting against STIs [sexually transmitted infections] when having sex." 

Read more: #WorldAidsDay: The secret behind our HIV treatment success

"A worrying seven percent decrease in condom use among 18 to 24-year-olds between 2011 and 2017, further highlights this concerning fashion for unprotected sex. Shining a light on South Africa, 24 percent lost their virginity without using protection.”

In reaction to the worrying statistics, Durex has launched a new international campaign urging young people to stand up to the negative perceptions and social pressures that could be undermining condom usage, challenging the young people to share photos of themselves carrying a condom using the hashtag #CondomHero.

“We are on a mission to help everyone have safe and pleasurable sex, and this research suggests that there may be a serious issue with how some young people feel about protection,” said Volker Sydow, Durex Global Category Director. 

"We hope that people round the world will show their support for safe sex and be a #CondomHero this World AIDS Day, showing [that] carrying and using a condom is something young people should be proud to do, with no embarrassment." 

The company has committed to help even more young people around the world access safe sex through a massive donation of one million condoms to UNAIDS projects.

Statistics show that in South Africa, close to half [41 percent] of 18 to 24-year-olds admit they don’t use condoms because they are in a trusted relationship, despite a tenth of the respondents in relationships having another sexual partner. 

This makes them susceptible to STIs and unwanted pregnancies. Men are more likely to purchase condoms but one in five women buy them too.