The influencing roles of the caregiver on adolescent sexual behavior: Are there differences between orphans and non-orphans in Tanzania?

Kristin Mmari, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Annie Michaelis, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Kagemlo Kiro, National Institute of Medical Research

This paper reports on a qualitative study conducted in the Kisesa Ward of Tanzania to examine the influencing roles of the parent (s)/caregiver (s) on the sexual behaviors of adolescents, aged 14-18 years. A total of 57 in-depth interviews and 11 focus groups were conducted among adolescents in the following groups: (1) adolescents who had either lost one or both parents; (2) adolescents who had at least one birth parent who was sick; and (3) adolescents who were living with both of their birth parents. Two focus group discussions were also conducted among female caregivers of adolescent orphans. Findings reveal that female orphans who live with caregivers unable to provide their children with basic necessities, guidance, and supervision are perceived to be at highest risk for HIV. In addition to the trauma of losing a parent, this study highlights the potential pathways through which female orphans increase their risk to HIV.

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Presented in Session 58: HIV and AIDS and families 2