Adolescent Sexual Behavior and the Risk of HIV Infection in Urban Ethiopia: The Case of Awassa City

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Addis Ababa University


II/V I A II)S is one of the seriolls health and social problems the world is facing 10 day. The epidemic is unique in its deuQS1Qting impact on the social, economic and demographic development. III Ethiopia. the highest rltllnber of AJ[)S cases was reported in the age group 2 0-39 in I he year 2003. ThIS fOCI revealed that most of the infections OCCUlTed much earlier during the period ofyuJth. IJas l researches have focused on knowledge about condonl d is tn'bution, pattern oJ condom utilization, . sexual violence, knowledge, altitude and practice of HIVI AIDS and knowledge and sexual behavior 011 IIIVI AIIJSI STDs. Little is known, however, about correlates of youth sexual activity , ris /cy sexual behavior and factors that motivates youths to engage in sex. This study, therefore, addresses the sexual risk taking behavior among youths aged 15-24 who are of particular interest given the fact that HIV is mainly transmitted through sexual contact.' The study was aimed at exploring the sexual behavior of youths in the city of A. Jassa. A sUl'IJey was conducted involving 383 unmarried youths aged 15-24 in the year 200S using a stll1ctured questionnaire. Multinomial regression was used to examine whether different p rediclor variables were associated with sexual risk fa ctors for HIV infection. Descriptive analyses of respondents' characteristics were made to obtain a general description of sexual ris k behavior. According to Ihe analyses majon'ty of the youths had never had sex and those who have ever had sex were se:n.lOlly aclive occasionally. Despite the fact that most of the youths were aware of IIIVI AJ[)S. considerable prop011ion oj the respondents had misconception regarding hal/} the virus con he ( . transmitted. The regression analysis re vealed that household s ocia economic stat"·s wasJound to have an influence on sexual risk taking behavior oj youths. FurthelIDore, living an'Ollgements of youths explains the van'alion in risk taking behavior i.e. living with both parents in the past and currenlly were protective fa clors frOTH sexual risk. J\10reover, current religiosity was also a protective faclor from sexual risk taking behavior. Nevertheless, involvements in other behavioral risks and engagement in economic activities during the nlOnth prim' to the survey were found to be s igm/icanl in increasing the likelihood oj risky sexual behavior. 13ased on t he findings of lhe study a better and widespread public educalion on fIlV I AIDS, expansion oj sexual health services for unmarried yO/lII1" and implementation of programs that are inlended to enhance household slandard of living w ere commented. A policy issue lhal m;ghl em.erge from this sludy is lo open opportunities in the area where parents, healthcare providers, the school and religious leaders can guide .I'U1(II!.\ on making responsible decisions esp ecially on se.>..:ual iss ues.



Sexual Behavior