HIV/AIDS: factors influencing risky sexual behaviour among the youth in selected secondary schools in Bondo district, Kenya
Okweso, Joseph Arung
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HIV/AIDS is a major global public health problem. Approximately 36.1 million people were estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS worldwide by the end of the year 2000, while 21.8 million people had died from HIV/AIDS related illnesses. Some 25.3 million of those infected live in sub-saharan Africa alone. In Kenya, HIV/AIDS claims an average of 700 lives per day, and has an average annual incidence of about 250,000 cases each year. Approximately 65% of new HIV infections are found in the youth aged between 15-25 years. The factors that predispose the youth at the above age group to account for the highest incidence of new HIV infections have not been established in Kenya. The study was done in Bondo District, Nyanza province; an area of high HIV prevalence, which by the year 2001 was estimated to be 24.9%. This cross-sectional, exploratory study aimed at determining the factors that influence risky sexual behaviour among the youth in the selected secondary schools in Bondo district, Kenya. The schools were selected by purposive sampling, while the study subjects were selected randomly using a table of random numbers. Data was collected using self-administered questionnaires, key informant interviews, focus group discussions and observations. The collected data was entered, cleaned and analysed using the SPSS statistical package. Chi-square tests were done to establish the association between various variables. The results of the study showed that approximately 94% of the youth who engaged in risky sexual behaviour knew HIV/AIDS was not curable and 60% still had multiple sexual partners. The majority of those who abused drugs also had current or previous multiple sexual partners. Some 79% of the youth preferred lovers who were in employment. Similarly, despite 59% of the youth recognizing the presence of traditional norms and values in their communities that regulated pre-marital sexual practices, 50% still had had sexual intercourse. There was a low coverage of HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns in the District and cultural ceremonies as after-death dances among the Luo provided opportunities for the youth to indulge in risky sexual practices. The media had a great influence on the youth, with 66% of the youth having copied and performed certain activities picked from the media. The results of this study have policy implications and call for the need to give particular attention to health and sex education to the youth in and out of secondary schools in an attempt to stem the increasing incidence of HIV/AIDS among the youth.
- MST-Zoological Sciences