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July 15th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) According to estimates by the United Nations (UN), 33 million people worldwide are living with HIV, and in Costa Rica, 2 out of every 100 men in Costa Rica between the ages of 15 and 24 are infected with the virus, according to Itzel Granados, a researcher with the Cooperative Research Project (SIDACOSTA) by the Universidad Libre de Costa Rica and the Northwestern University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland.
Granados said that young people between the ages 15 and 24 do not utilize proper methods of protection against the virus, or are unaware of the risk. In some cases, young people believe that withdrawing the penis prior to ejaculation is sufficient protection, or simply relying on “hygiene.”
One out of one hundred young women in the same age group are also infected.
Granados said that even some university-educated citizens believed that birth control could protect them from the virus.
Estimates from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV indicate that there are 8,800 people in Costa Rica aged 15 to 45 who are infected with HIV, with young people the most affected population.
Prostitution is also legal in Costa Rica, though the studies do not mention the possible impact the practice may have on HIV rates in the country.