The main reason for careless and in some cases, reckless sexual behavior in young adults has its roots in social grounds. A same theme of diffidence and substantial lack of communication in matters related to sex can be found worldwide.

This attitude leads to increased chances of catching multiple infections of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV. A review revealed this from 268 studies conducted in countries from Sweden to South Africa, on individuals below 25 years of age.

The review deduced a world wide hesitation among young people in openly discussing sexual issues and fears concerning the same. It revealed that the hesitation seems to be stemming universally from the feeling that carrying and insisting on the use of condoms projects the wrong reputation.

This of course leads to indulgence in unsafe sex by both men and women. The review of the studies also revealed that men and women find it difficult to discuss sex and voice their fears regarding safe sex. This means that condom use far from being a top priority, is almost always never planned at all.

The other factor is to try to judge a person's sexual history or HIV status by simply resorting to guessing games or by relying heavily on a person's external appearance. If young people get the impression that their partner is free of STDs or HIV, they tend to, wrongly, not use a condom.

Dr. Cicely Marston, of LSHTM, who led the review, said, “Our findings help to explain why many HIV programs have not been effective. Giving out condoms and information is vital, but it is not enough. Even where young people know about the importance of condoms, social factors – in particular stereotypes about how men and women should behave and a reluctance to talk openly about sex – hamper their use. Safer sex campaigns need to tackle these issues if they are to succeed”.

She emphasized that the study showed why so many campaigns focused on encouraging safe sex practices actually fail in the end.

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