Durex's 2017 Global Sex Survey questioned more than 29 000 participants, including South Africans, and revealed that more than half (54%) of those between the ages of 18-24 have had sex without Sexually transmitted infections (STI) protection at least once.
More than that, a disappointing one third (35%) of men agree that if their partner didn’t want them to use a condom, they would risk unprotected sex rather than miss out completely.
In South Africa, close to half (41%) of those aged between 18–24 also admit they don’t use condoms because they are in a trusted relationship, despite a 10th of respondents in relationships having another sexual partner, leaving many prone to contracting contracting STIs or ending up with an unwanted pregnancy.
The other main reasons for lack of condom use? Peer pressure and an inaccessibility of condoms. One third of condom users responded that they would use condoms more frequently if they were available for free, and this is possibly backed by government's ineffective policy to prioritise condom access in schools, suggests this article by GroundUp.
But Durex's survey also shows that less than half of South African participants have used free condoms.
The lack of condom use and its link to an increase in STIs is also prevalent among millennials, notes New York Post, with one male high school student that participated in a study adding that condoms are 'generally unsexy'.
Read more: Why I don't believe in safe sex
More so, more than a quarter (28%) would be embarrassed to be caught carrying a condom on a date. Sadly, this implies that safe sex is no longer part of the dating culture for the younger generation.
For 2017, an estimated 12,6% of the total population is HIV positive. Exposing the level of HIV prevalence in South Africa, the report says approximately one-fifth of South African women in their reproductive ages (15-49 years) are HIV positive.
A worrying 7% decrease in condom use among 18-24 year olds between 2011 and 2017 further highlights this concerning fashion for unprotected sex. Shining a light on South Africa, 24% lost their virginity without using protection.
In response to these alarming statistics, Durex today on World Aids Day launches #CondomHero, an international campaign challenging young people to stand-up against the negative views towards safe sex and social pressures that could be undermining condom usage among 18–24 year olds.
Join the conversation and show your support for safe sex by using the hashtag #CondomHero.
WATCH: Condoms need to be more accessible to young people