Why are Virgin Adolescents Worried about Contracting HIV/AIDS? Evidence from Four Sub-Saharan African Countries

Guiella Georges, Bignami Simona, LeGrand K. Thomas

Abstract

Whether well founded or not, perceptions of one’s own HIV risk have been shown by health behavior models to be an important factor in determining individuals’ sexual behavior. Although empirical studies on the determinants of HIV risk perception exist, only a few have focused on adolescents who are not yet sexually active. Using data from nationally-representative surveys of adolescents, we assess the factors associated with HIV risk perception among sexually inactive adolescents in four sub-Saharan African countries at different stages of the HIV/AIDS epidemic (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi and Uganda). The results show that there is no single influence on adolescents’ HIV risk perception, but rather a range of individual, environmental and community factors such as schooling, knowledge about HIV, regional HIV prevalence and adolescents’ social networks. These results can help better calibrate programs and policies addressing sexual and reproductive health issues among adolescents, a group that is disproportionately affected by new HIV infections. Afr J Reprod Health 2013 (Special Edition); 17[4]: 32-50).

 

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, risk perception, ordered logistic analysis, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi, Uganda

 

Résumé

 

Les modèles comportementaux en santé ont démontré que, fondées ou non,  les perceptions individuelles du risque vis-à-vis du VIH constituent un facteur important qui détermine le comportement sexuel des individus. Cependant, bien qu'il existe des études empiriques sur les déterminants de la perception du risque du VIH, seuls quelques-uns ont mis l'accent sur les adolescents qui ne sont pas encore sexuellement actifs. En nous appuyant sur  des données d'enquêtes représentatives au niveau national, nous évaluons les facteurs associés à la perception du risque vis-à-vis du VIH chez les adolescents sexuellement inactifs dans quatre pays d'Afrique sub-saharienne à différents stades de l'épidémie du VIH/Sida (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi et Ouganda). Les résultats montrent qu'il n'existe  pas une influence unique de la perception du risque du VIH chez l’adolescent, mais plutôt un faisceau de facteurs individuels, environnementaux et communautaires au nombre desquels la scolarisation, les connaissances sur le VIH, la prévalence régionale du VIH et les réseaux sociaux des adolescents. Ces résultats peuvent aider à mieux calibrer les programmes et les politiques portant sur les questions de santé sexuelle et reproductive chez les adolescents, un groupe qui est touché de façon disproportionnée par les nouvelles infections à VIH. Afr J Reprod Health 2013 (Special Edition); 17[4]: 32-50).

 

Mots-clés: VIH/SIDA, perception du risque, analyse logistique ordonnée, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi, Ouganda 

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