Understanding the Socio-demographic Factors Surrounding Young Peoples’ Risky Sexual Behaviour in Ghana and Kenya
Globally, young people in sub-Saharan Africa continue to be the population at the greatest risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV and AIDS, Syphilis, and Gonorrhoea. Research has shown significant relationship between young peoples risky sexual behaviours and their vulnerability to these STIs. The study examined risky sexual behaviours among the youth in Ghana and Kenya in relation to socio-demographic characteristics. The paper uses data from the 2014 Demographic and Health Surveys of Ghana and Kenya. Young people between the ages of 15 to 24 years who were not married or living with a man/woman were included in the study. They comprised 2545 females and 1437 males from Ghana and 3546 females and 4317 males from Kenya. Descriptive analyses and binary logistic regression estimation technique were used to analyse the data. While awareness of AIDS was universal among the youth of both countries, utilisation of condoms on last penetrative sex was low. Risky sexual behaviour among young people was significantly associated with age, level of education, wealth status and religion. Among males and females in Ghana, the odds of sexual risk taking behaviour were higher among those who were employed than those who were unemployed. The reverse of this, however, occurred in Kenya, where males and females who were employed were less likely to engage in risky sexual behaviours than their counterparts who were unemployed. Our findings underscore the need for the relevant stakeholders in the two countries; Ministries of Health, Ghana/KenyaHealth Service, and NGOs concerned with sexual and reproductive health of young people, to intensify education on consistent and proper use of condoms and, position condom use as an acceptable behaviour especially among young people who are sexually active; with multiple partners and who may have STIs. Health literacy, which is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions, should be given priority. The governments of the two countries, especially Kenya, should promote youth entrepreneurship to reduce unemployment and strengthen job creation as a way of ensuring that young people engage on productive economic activities. With productive economic activities, females for instance may not have to engage in transactional multiple sexual relationships which is risky and, therefore, predisposes them to STIs such as gonorrhoea and HIV.
KeywordsYoung people Ghana Kenya Risky sexual behaviour HIV and AIDS
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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