Sexual abstinence behavior among never-married youths in a generalized HIV epidemic country: evidence from the 2005 C&ocird;te d'Ivoire AIDS indicator survey

Wenzel, Hanne Gro; Øren, Anita; Bakken, Inger Johanne
January 2008
BMC Public Health;2008, Vol. 8, p408
Academic Journal
Background: Sexual abstinence is the best available option for preventing both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. Identifying the factors associated with sexual abstinence among youths would have meaningful implications in a generalized HIV epidemic country such as the Côte d'Ivoire. Thus, we explored sexual abstinence behavior among never-married individuals aged 15 to 24 in Côte d'Ivoire and assessed factors that predict sexual abstinence. Methods: We obtained data from the nationally representative and population-based 2005 Côte d'Ivoire AIDS Indicator Survey, conducted from September 2004 to October 2005. Our sample included 3041 never-married people aged 15 to 24. Of these, 990 reported never having sexual intercourse (primary abstinence) and 137 reported sexual experience but not in the 12 months prior to the survey (secondary abstinence). In all, 1127 youths reported sexual abstinence practice. Results: Of the 3041 never-married youths, 54.4% were male and 45.6% were female. About 33.0%, 6.7%, and 37.1% of them were practicing primary, secondary, and sexual abstinence behavior, respectively. Females of higher education level were significantly 11.14 times as likely as those of no education to practice either primary or secondary abstinence. Males who were animists, had no religion, or were practicing religions other than Christianity or Muslim were significantly less likely than other male youths to practice sexual abstinence (OR = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.30-0.95). Living in the north-west region of the country significantly decreased the odds of sexual abstinence among female youths. Similarly, female youths living in rural areas were significantly 0.42 times as likely as those in the urban zones to practice sexual abstinence. Conclusion: HIV/AIDS prevention program components could include media campaigns, educational intervention improvement, as well as promoting policies that shape female youth livelihoods. Likewise, youth involvement in initiatives to design appropriate messages, and activities to promote positive behaviors or to change negative perceptions could impact on youths' decision to exert abstinence behavior.


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