Independent On-Line, 06 December 2002, How we are having sex

HIV-prevention messages appear to be having an impact on the sexual behaviour of South Africans who also have a very clear understanding of the key aspects of HIV/Aids.

And, contrary to popular belief, participants in the Nelson Mandela/HSRC study on HIV/Aids released in
Johannesburg on Thursday expressed a good knowledge that the disease was not caused by witchcraft and understood that it could not be cured by sex with a virgin. In addition, the majority of South Africans surveyed said they accepted people living with HIV/Aids.

Some of the key findings of the survey are:

Condoms: HIV prevention messages appear to be having an impact on young people (15-24), with 57.1 percent of young men and 46.1 percent of young women reporting condom use in their last sexual encounter. More than 90 percent of participants reported that they could easily get condoms.

Sexual activity: Only 25 percent of 15-17-year-olds were reported to be having sex. The average age at which young men and women started having sex was 18. Among those youth (15-24) who were sexually active, most (70 percent) had sex four or less times a month. In addition, 84.7 percent of youth and 93.5 percent of adults reported having only one partner in the past year. - Health-e News

This article was originally published on page 4 of The Mercury on 06 December 2002