A groundbreaking new survey of young South Africans has revealed their opinions on sex, HIV and gays and lesbians.

The survey report is based on 50 polls run on the Praekelt Foundation’s YoungAfricaLive mobile platform, which reaches around 360 000 unique users; 65% of which are under 24 years of age. Each poll received between 2 000 and 8 000 individual responses.

Unsurprisingly, considering the epidemic’s impact on South Africa, HIV and Aids featured strongly in the poll questions.

A disturbing 31% of those surveyed admitted that they had not tested for HIV in the last year because they don’t want to know the result.

Eleven percent revealed that they were living with HIV and 14% said that they had lost a loved one to HIV.

A concerning 23% of the young people surveyed believe that men rape women because they wear clothes that are too revealing. A massive 82% felt that abortion is the equivalent of murder.

When it comes to gays and lesbians in the community, a slim majority of young people appear to have a positive view on the subject.

Most (55%) of the respondents believe that gay people are born that way, 34% that gays are committing a sin against God and 8% that parents bring up their children to be gay.

A significant proportion (81%) do not believe that being gay has anything to do with a person’s ability to play a sport.

When asked about efforts in Uganda to enact legislation against gays and lesbians that would include the death penalty, 50% said that being gay is not a crime and should not be punished at all.

An additional 38% said that while anybody who knowingly infects another with HIV should be charged for a crime, this has nothing to do with being gay.

Eleven percent, however, were in agreement that “being gay is a crime that should be punishable by death.”

Gustav Praekelt, founder of the Praekelt Foundation, said that the YoungAfricaLive portal is “a mechanism to give young South Africans a safe place to gain knowledge and make their feelings known – not just about HIV/AIDS and sex, but also about love and relationships.”

The YoungAfricaLive Youth Sex Survey results were released by the Praekelt Foundation at the recent GSMA mHealth (Mobile Health) Summit, held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

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