Alcohol Use and Sexual Risk-Taking Behavior: A Multilevel Investigation with African Data

Barthelemy D. Kuate, Université de Montréal

Across the lifespan, individuals are at risk of multiple threats characterized by co-occurring health risk behaviors. Adolescents and young adults are most at risk, many of whom often participate in risk behaviors that threaten their current and future health. These include substance/alcohol use and unprotected sexual intercourse that are responsible for much of their mortality and morbidity experiences. Studies which show that reducing alcohol use will reduce at-risk sexual behavior usually fail to control for unobservables that are potentially correlated with alcohol use and sexual behavior. Using various estimation techniques and data from Wave 1 of the Cameroon Longitudinal Family Life and Health Surveys, we estimate the effects of alcohol use on the probability of being sexually active and the probability of having sex without contraception. We find evidence of a causal link between alcohol use and sexual activity in this African setting and consider its implications for HIV/AIDS prevention among young people.

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Presented in Session 159: Multiple Country Perspectives on Reproductive Health