United Kingdom: Young Women "Complacent Over HIV"
January 29, 2007
In a recently released survey of 1,064 UK women ages 16-30, seven in 10 reported they were at no HIV risk. Ninety-two percent said they did not think it was important to carry a condom when heading out for a night on the town. Carrying a condom is a man's responsibility, 14 percent of respondents said.
The poll was commissioned by MTV UK and The Body Shop to support "Spray to Change Attitudes," their joint advertising campaign aimed at preventing HIV infections among youths. It is also a fundraising campaign for the Staying Alive Foundation, a multimedia global youth HIV prevention coalition of private, nonprofit, national, and international health agencies.
In the survey, two-thirds of respondents believed carrying a condom would ruin their chances of having sex. One in 10 believed carrying a condom signaled they were "easy" and promiscuous. When talking about their sex life with friends, 47 percent would not broach the topic of condoms. Only 32 percent believed asking about their partner's sexual history was a priority. And seven in 10 women would be embarrassed if a condom fell out of their handbag in the women's restroom.
"It's worrying that so many young women don't think they are at risk from HIV and think it is somebody else's problem -- such as those in developing countries, homosexuals or drug users," said Chris Davis, global campaigns manager for The Body Shop. "In fact, figures show that HIV infections are spreading fast among girls and women in major cities of the developed world too."
"It is vital that sexually active women carry condoms and take responsibility for protecting themselves, especially as they are at a greater risk of getting HIV than men through heterosexual sex," said Lisa Power of the HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust.
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.