Young people and condoms: a love story?
On the occasion of World AIDS Day on December 1, 2016, Terpan, French distributor of Smile® male and So Sexy® female condoms, and Trendy, the lifestyle website of L’Etudiant, surveyed more than 700 people on their relationship with STIs and condoms. Feedback and analysis of the survey.
Dichotomy between AIDS generation and 90/2000 generation
Today, 36.7 million people are living with HIV worldwide, including 1.8 million children. And 1.1 million people have died in the last 12 months, including 150,000 children under the age of 15. In France, there are more than 150,000 people and 30,000 who do not know they are carriers of the virus.
Despite the awareness and prevention campaigns and the encouragement of screening in recent years, nearly 40% of respondents to the Terpan/Trendy survey believe that they are not sufficiently or not at all informed. This is confirmed by Kamal Yahiaoui, President of Terpan: “The 90s/2000 generation did not have access to the same prevention discourse as the AIDS generation. Today’s young people are very poorly informed and, above all, no longer fear AIDS. They have learned that it is possible to live with HIV and that if taken in time and treated properly, the viral load could even become undetectable! Today’s young people must certainly live with this sword of Damocles, but they no longer consider it to be all that dangerous.
And yet the figures confirm a resurgence of STIs, particularly syphilis, whose name was thought to have been taken from the old novels of centuries past. When questioned, 65% of respondents were unaware of this fact!
Persistence of preconceived ideas
30 years of communication, awareness and prevention efforts have not prevented the persistence of preconceived ideas: 19% of respondents believe that HIV can be transmitted by mosquitoes, 4.5% by kissing and 3.5% by sitting on public toilets.
These prejudices are still in the minority, but they are no less revealing of the shortcomings of young people and the importance of prevention. When asked about means of protection, 4% said that contraceptives (pills, IUDs, implants) protect against STIs.
Me, not even afraid of AIDS, but the injections…
Young people are no longer afraid of AIDS and when asked why they do little or no screening, almost 70% of those surveyed said they felt they had not taken any risks!
Just as surprising, 33% of respondents say they are slowed down or even anxious about going for testing:
18% are stressed by the medical environment and/or are afraid of needles
15% said they did not get tested because they were afraid of the results.
The key to action? Feeling concerned
In a context of increasing STIs, this is the good surprise of this survey: 66% of respondents feel concerned about the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.
40% of respondents use condoms until they are tested and 31% use them consistently.
“AIDS concerns everyone, all generations, heterosexuals, homosexuals, men, women. We are fortunate to live in a country where it is easy to avoid contracting AIDS, by using the only effective means: the condom. There are many condoms available and you have to be careful about three things: choosing the right size, making sure the condom has been electronically tested and not neglecting the lubricant which reduces the risk of tearing and improves comfort,” says Kamal Yahiaoui, president of Terpan.