The Risk-Taking Generation: Safe Sex is Not a Priority for Generation Z as More Than Half of 18-24 Year Olds Admit to Having Had Unprotected Sex at Least Once1

PARSIPPANY, N.J.--()--To mark World AIDS Day, December 1, Durex today launches a new international campaign urging young people to stand up to the negative perceptions and social pressures that could be undermining condom usage amongst 18–24 year olds by challenging them to share photos of themselves carrying a condom using the hashtag #CondomHero.

A new international study2 that included participants in the United States revealed a number of disturbing realties for young American adults: more than half (62%) of 18-24 year olds have engaged in unprotected sex, and that nearly a quarter (22.6%) would be embarrassed to be caught carrying a condom while on a date. The negative perception of safe sex amongst young people is further evidenced by the shocking fact that nearly 15% (14.6%) claim they would actually be less likely to have sex with someone who was carrying protection – and as such, one third (33%) of men agreed that if there was a chance that carrying a condom would put off someone they wanted to have sex with, they wouldn’t carry a condom.

Based on the latest data, Durex suggests that safe sex is no longer part of dating culture for the younger generation. The information is all the more disturbing given that about 4,500 adults are newly infected with HIV every day – of which 37% are among young people (15-24)3.

For young American men in particular, peer pressure, pornography, social media and the lack of safe sex in TV and movies are likely to be key factors influencing attitudes and behavior towards condom use. Nearly 17% (16.7%) admitted that if they discovered a friend was carrying a condom they would make fun of them, and 24% consider carrying a condom all the time “un-cool.” An alarming 37.7% of men claimed that they would rather risk getting an STI than potentially miss out on sex if a partner didn’t want them to use protection.

The study also revealed the scale of ambivalence towards safe sex amongst 18-24 year olds, with 16% admitting that HIV, AIDS and STIs are of no concern to them. Newly released data from a separate survey conducted by Durex in 2017, the 2017 Durex Global Sex Survey, revealed that 31% of all global respondents have either not considered using something or are not currently using something to prevent against STIs and STDs, including HIV/AIDS4. The Global Sex Survey also uncovered a worrying 6% decrease in condom use amongst 18-24 year olds globally between 2011 and 2017, further highlighting this concerning tendency for unprotected sex.

American sentiments towards safe sex are virtually equally reflected abroad – with 54% of 18-24 year olds having had sex without STI protection at least once, more than a quarter (28%) admitting they would feel embarrassed to be caught carrying a condom by a date, and over 1 in 10 (16%) claiming they would be less likely to sleep with a date who was carrying a condom5.

In response to these alarming trends, Durex today launches #CondomHero, a campaign challenging young people to stand-up against the negative views towards safe sex and “condom trolls.” The campaign launches with the premiere of a new film created in partnership with popular Gen Z media channel UNILAD, highlighting the negative perception of condoms amongst young people and seeking to encourage more people to carry protection. As a truly global issue Durex has committed to help even more young people around the world access safe sex by donating 1 million condoms to UNAIDS projects.

Roberto Pescatori, Durex Brand Director for Europe and North America, commented: “Durex is on a mission to help everyone have safe and pleasurable sex. This World AIDS Day with our #CondomHero campaign we are empowering young people to challenge negative preconceptions about safe sex and be proud to be protected.”

“While this alarming new attitude towards safe sex is clearly a global trend, we need to be diligent and all-encompassing in our approach to ensure we’re facing the issue in a way that speaks to young adults in the United States,” emphasized Nadja Körner, Marketing Director for Sexual Wellbeing at RB, the makers of Durex. “#CondomHero is something we think people everywhere can relate to and get behind, and we’re excited to be working with our international counterparts to ignite a worldwide movement encouraging safe, healthy and fun sex.”

Join the conversation and show your support for safe sex by using the hashtag #CondomHero

To view the campaign film, created in partnership with UNILAD click here.

About Durex
Durex® is the #1 top-selling condom brand based on consumer value sales, unit (pack) sales and volume (condom foil) sales6. With over 80 years of experience, Durex is dedicated to inspiring lovers to love sex safely. That is why Durex will never stop innovating with new products that enhance the sexual experience, helping couples get closer and go further together. For more information, go to

About RB
RB is the global leading consumer health and hygiene company. Driven by a purpose of providing innovative solutions for healthier lives and happier homes, RB has operations in over 60 countries. From the foundations of wellness and infant nutrition, to the fundamentals of a hygienic home, its global brands help people live healthier, happier lives.

RB has world leading Powerbrands which include household names such as Enfamil, Nutramigen, Nurofen, Strepsils, Gaviscon, Mucinex, Durex, Scholl, Clearasil, Lysol, Dettol, Veet, Harpic, Cillit Bang, Mortein, Finish, Vanish, Calgon, Woolite and Air Wick.

For more information visit RB is a trading name of Reckitt Benckiser group of companies

Established in 2014, UNILAD is the number one content publisher on social media and – with a reach of 1 billion and over 2.7 billion video views a month – the brand has matured into the most engaged and viewed channel in the world. UNILAD has grown from a single Facebook page and website for the social generation into a highly-engaged suite of channels catering for passions and interests such as food, tech and gaming. Initially only licensing viral content, UNILAD has now evolved into a leading original content producer, blending the best viral videos with exclusive content built for social and becoming one of the fastest growing media properties in the world. For more information visit

1 Survey of 500 sexually active people aged 18–24 from USA, November 2017. Conducted by 3GEM Research & Insights. For full research information please contact Unless otherwise specified via footnote, all statistics referenced within this press release are a result of this study.
2 Please reference footnote 5 for citation for full international study
3 Source, UNAIDS, 2017 found at:
4 The 2017 Durex Global Sex Survey (GSS) of 33,542 adults from 42 countries. Field work conducted December 2016–September 2017. For more information about the Durex Global Sex Survey 2017 contact
5 Survey of 3,500 sexually active people aged 18–24 from UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, November 2017. Conducted by 3GEM Research & Insights. For full research information please contact
6 Claim based on information aggregated and reported in part from data supplied by Nielsen through its Retail Measurement Services and in part from data inputs from other suppliers for the Condom category (RB defined) for the 12-month period ending September 2017, for the defined RB geographic focus.


Access for Durex
Shaili Ahl

Release Summary

To mark World AIDS Day, Durex launches campaign urging people to stand up to the negative perceptions undermining condom use.



Access for Durex
Shaili Ahl