Predictors of Premarital Sexual Experience among Adolescents in a Rural Setting in Zimbabwe

William Sambisa, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Sian Curtis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Brian Chandiwana, Biomedical Research & Training Institute
Shungu Munyati, Biomedical Research & Training Institute
Stanford Mahati, Biomedical Research & Training Institute
Wilson Mashange, Biomedical Research & Training Institute

Rural youth in Zimbabwe are at increased risk for HIV infection, but few studies have studied this threat. To address this gap in the literature, we assessed premarital sexual experience and explored the social cognitive, family- and peer-level antecedents of sexual debut among never married rural youth. The results showed that 27 percent of adolescents were sexual experienced. Although knowledge about HIV transmission was high, there was evidence that misconceptions about AIDS persists. The results indicated that knowledge of HIV transmission and prevention was insufficient for behavior change. Male gender, older age and alcohol use were risk factors for premarital sex initiation. Seeking advice from peers was a risk factor while aunts/uncles were protective against premarital sex. Broad-range prevention strategies should be implemented to target adolescents’ social and sexual networks and also stress the connection between substance use and risky sexual behaviors in certain social contexts.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 3