By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com May 21 2003 12:00 AM ET
A new Kaiser Family Foundation survey of more than 1,000 U.S. youth ages 13 to 24 shows that many have a cavalier attitude toward HIV/AIDS and safer sex. The report, released Monday and titled "National Survey of Adolescents and Young Adults: Sexual Health Knowledge, Attitudes, and Experiences," shows that about 10% of the respondents think occasionally having sex without a condom is "not a big deal." Roughly 10% of the youth surveyed believe that HIV is only a threat if you have "a lot of sexual partners." About 20% of the respondents incorrectly believe that birth control pills prevent infection by HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. And 20% of teens reported that they are not aware that you can become infected with HIV and other STDs through oral sex.
Julia Davis of the Kaiser Family Foundation told USA Today that the study shows that young people have "a lack of knowledge about core sexual issues and how sexual health issues impact their generation." Other sexual health experts say the report is a clear sign that comprehensive sex education programs that include instruction on condom use, safer sex, and HIV and STD prevention are needed in U.S. schools.