Early Sexual Initiation and its Associated Factors among Youth in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Introduction: Youth who begin early sexual activity are less likely to use condoms and more likely to have multiple partners and early child bearing which intern brings about higher rates of maternal and child morbidity and mortality. Higher rates of unintended pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections among youths make it fundamental to understand factors associated with early sexual initiation in a wider perspective for designing and implementing effective interventions. Objective: To assess the magnitude of early sexual initiation and its associated factors among youths in Addis Ababa, April 2014 Methodology: A quantitative cross sectional facility based study supplemented with qualitative enquiry was conducted on a sample of 622 youth’s attending youth centers in Addis Ababa. A systematic random sampling technique was applied to select the study participants. A pretested structured questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data while focus group discussions using semi-structured interviewer guide were used to generate qualitative information. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were done. Odds ratio with 95% confidence interval was estimated to identify predictors of early sexual debut using multivariable logistic regression analysis. Qualitative data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Result: Early sexual initiation (sex before the age of 18yrs) among youth in Addis Ababa was 42%. Among youths who had history of sexual debut at early age thirty-seven percent of them didn’t use condom at first sex and 44% of male participant had sex with commercial sex workers in their life time. Multivariate analysis:-Being female AOR = 4.46(1.41, 14.15), younger age group AOR= 3.20[1.50, 6.82], school attendance AOR=3.52(2.14, 5.79), reported pressure to have sexual intercourse AOR=2.18(1.13, 4.23), watching sex movies at early age AOR=7.27(3.65, 14.48) and using alcohol AOR=2.48(1.09, 5.63) were identified as independent predictors of early sexual initiation. Regarding consequences 37% of pregnancies were before the age of 18years. In addition, 47% of youths had history of STI in the past 12 month prior to survey. Conclusions: This study indicates that a considerable proportion of youths engages in sexual activity at an early age and continues to practice risky sexual behaviors. Peer influence played a major role in youths sexual behaviors. Watching sex movies at younger age (15-19) and use of alcohol were found to be independent predictor of early sexual initiation. In order to protect youth from early sexual debut, schools should focus on promoting peer educators and the way of peer discussion. Strategies should be designed to control the use of alcohol and to restrict watching sex movies at early age



Early sexual activity, HIV/AIDS