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Study Looks at Why Young Adults More Prone to Being Infected by STD's

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Dr. Kim Mulvihill reportingSexually transmitted diseases- or STD's - are risky business, especially for teens and young adults. Most of these infections are diagnosed in people under the age of twenty-five. That trend is worrisome.

Young people account for nearly half of all new HIV infections worldwide. They know about condoms. But they are not using them. A new study tries to decipher why.

Researchers reviewed nearly two hundred and seventy recent studies on young people around the world. They found when it comes to sex, young people are remarkably the same.

Here's what they found about condom use. Young people often decide whether to use a condom based on a partner's appearance -- about whether he or she "looks" clean or unclean. Appearance is a highly unreliable indicator of whether someone has an STD.

Young people also consider condom use as stigmatizing. They view condom-free sex as a sign of trust.

Young women who carry condoms - or talk about sex - are branded as either "loose" or "cheap". Yet it's young women - not men - who are also considered responsible for preventing pregnancy. So you can see how STD's can occur.

Around the world, researchers found rewards for having sex. For example, the more sex partners a young man has, the higher his social status will be among his peers. That behavior can lead to STD's.

The researchers hope health officials around the world will use their data to design more effective safe sex campaigns. And they hope to do more research into how some young men and women buck the trend - - and protect themselves. That includes how to successfully refuse sex.

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