Nine out of 10 young people aged 16 to 24 rarely or never think about the dangers of HIV when making decisions about their sex lives, a new study has revealed.
A total of 41% consider themselves at "no risk" of catching HIV and 74% of those questioned do not know the correct facts about the disease, the online BBC survey of 1,500 people found.
More than half (55%) believe the myth that you can get HIV from kissing, and 47% said they believe it can be passed on from toilet seats.
More than a quarter (26%) said they do not feel informed about the transmission and prevention of HIV.
The findings have been released to mark the start of a two-month HIV awareness campaign, run in conjunction with the Terrence Higgins Trust, that will run across the BBC until World AIDS Day on December 1.
A trust spokeswoman said: "Too many young people are leaving school not knowing how to protect themselves from HIV and other STIs."
There are 70,000 people living with HIV in the UK, and up to a third are unaware they have the virus.
The Terrence Higgins Trust estimates that at least 400,000 people could have HIV by 2032 if current trends continue.