Risky sexual behaviours among women of reproductive age in a high HIV burdened township in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

SOURCE: BMC Infectious Diseases
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): M.Hlongwa, K.Peltzer, K.Hlongwana
DEPARTMENT: Public Health, Societies and Belonging (HSC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 11437
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/15348
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11910/15348

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Despite several intervention programmes in South Africa, risky sexual behaviours among women of reproductive age remain a public health concern, thereby making them prone to unintended pregnancies and/or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. This study investigated the predictors of risky sexual behaviours among women of reproductive age in a high HIV-burdened township in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa. This was a cross-sectional study conducted among 471 women of reproductive age (18-49 years, mean: 25.83) in 10 public health clinics in Umlazi Township, using a structured questionnaire. Data were coded, entered into Epi Data Manager and exported to Stata for analysis. A Pearson Chi-square test and logistic regression models (bivariate and multivariate) were employed to assess the level of the association between the predictor and outcome variables and the p-value 0.05 or lower was considered statistically significant. More than half (51.80%) of women were aged 18-24 years and only a handful (18.26%) had tertiary qualification. The majority were single (88.96%) and the unemployed accounted for 53.50%. This study found that women who talked about condoms with partner during the preceding 12 months were more likely (p=<0.0001) to have used condoms during their last sexual experience. Older women (p=0.035) were more likely to have used a condom at last sex, compared to younger women. However, women who were exposed to physical partner violence (hitting and/or slapping), those who had been diagnosed with HIV and those whose sexual partners were diagnosed with HIV, did not show a significant association with condom use at last sexual encounter. Exposure to physical partner violence and poor partner discussions about condoms are key deterrents to condom usage. Holistic interventions are required in order to address the risky behaviours, and consequently reduce sexually transmitted infections and/or unintended pregnancies.