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Survey: Young
women in the U.K. unconcerned about HIV

Survey: Young
women in the U.K. unconcerned about HIV

Seven out of 10 young women in the United Kingdom do not believe they are at risk of being infected with HIV, reported the BBC.

The Body Shop and MTV polled 1,064 women between the ages of 16 and 30 as part of the global Spray to Change Attitudes campaign to raise funds for the Staying Alive Foundation, which works to prevent the spread of HIV among young people.

"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," Chris Davis, the Body Shop's global campaigns manager, told the BBC. "In fact, figures show that HIV infections are spreading fast among girls and women in major cities of the developed world too."

Other findings from the poll:

-14% said it is a man's responsibility to carry the condom

-One in 10 said they consider a woman who carries a condom "easy"

-47% said they don't mention condoms when talking to their friends about their sex life

-Only 32% think it's critical to ask new partners about their sexual history

-Seven out of 10 said they would be ashamed to have a condom fall out of their handbag in the ladies' room

-Two thirds said they thought carrying a condom would ruin their chances of having sex

"Unfortunately in this country, underinvestment in HIV awareness and lack of comprehensive sex and relationships education in schools has led to decreased knowledge of the risks of HIV transmission," Yusef Azad, director of policy and campaigns at the National AIDS Trust, said to the BBC.

"Women in the U.K. are not at highest risk, but any act of unprotected sex can pass on HIV, and it is important people know how to protect themselves," Azad said.

Of the 4.3 million people diagnosed worldwide with HIV last year, more than half were under the age of 24.

Speaking to the BBC, Lisa Power, of the HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust, said, "If young women--and men--continue to be complacent about their sexual health, we are going to see a far greater epidemic in HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in the U.K. It is vital that sexually active women carry condoms and take responsibility for protecting themselves, especially as they are at greater risk of getting HIV than men through heterosexual sex." (The Advocate)

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