Community influences on young people's sexual behavior in 3 African countries

Rob Stephenson, Emory University

This paper examines community influences on young people's sexual behavior in 3 African countries: Burkina Faso, Ghana and Zambia. Using the most recent DHS data from each country, the analysis examines how community level structural and community factors influence risky sexual behavior among young people (15-24). Risky sex is defined as sex without a condom with more than one partner in the year prior to the survey. Separate multi-level models are fitted for males and females in each of the 3 countries. In addition to individual and household level factors, the analysis considers several community dimensions as potential influences on sexual beahvior: community economic environment, prevailing behaviors among older people in the community, and prevailing demographic patterns. The community factors influencing sexual behavior vary significantly by gender and country. The results demonstrate several community level factors that can be harnessed to develop community level interventions aimed at reducing HIV prevalence.

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Presented in Session 62: Adolescent transitions and sexual behavior