Community Influences on the Sexual Behavior of Young People in Four African Countries

Calleen Simon, Emory University
Rob Stephenson, Emory University

This research investigates the influence of community-level characteristics on risky sexual behaviors of young people (12-19) using data from the Protecting the Next Generation Project’s National Survey of Adolescents in Uganda, Malawi, Ghana and Burkina Faso (2004). The analysis examines several dimensions of adolescent sexual behavior including age at sexual debut, number of sexual partners, condom use, the role of alcohol in sex and transactional sex. The analysis considers several community-level influences such as levels of education, gender norms, dominant religion and ethnicity, ratios of male/female employment, health care infrastructure and presence of sexual education. The results indicate that the community factors shaping the sexual behaviors of adolescents differ by country, gender and age. The results emphasize the need for programs and policies that look beyond individual factors when addressing sexual behavior in young people.

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Presented in Session 109: Adolescent Sexual Behavior and Reproductive Health