A stratified cross-sectional survey was conducted on 2 278 people residing in and around Addis Ababa and Nazareth cities to assess the behavioural risk factors in HIV/AIDS in selected target groups from August 2000 to December 2000. The target groups, consisting of students, urban residents, farmers, and commercial sex workers, were interviewed using pre-tested questionnaires including indicators such as age, sex, educational and occupational status, sexual practice, preventive measures, condom use, etc. The findings revealed that 116 (32.6%) of the sex workers, 37 (21.5%) of the farmers, 33 (12%) of the students and 45 (11.3%) of the urban residents had started sexual intercourse between the ages of 1315 years. The mean age at the time of sexual commencement for all respondents was 18.2 3.1 SD years. Among those who had already started sexual intercourse, 766 (63.7%) respondents had non-regular partners. Of the total respondents only 813 (36.2%) were using condoms while the remaining were opting for either abstinence (674 (30%)) or one-to-one sexual relationship (885 (39.4%)) for prevention of HIV/AIDS. Ten (32.3%) of the farmers, 32 (19.8%) of the urban residents, 34 (17.5%) of the students and 33 (9.3%) of the sex workers were using condoms occasionally. The findings suggest that a well-coordinated campaign against the disease should be undertaken by targeting those who are at high risk. Condom use should also be promoted especially among the youth who seem to be engaged in sexual intercourse with multiple partners.
Keywords: age at sexual commencement; condom use; preventive measures; sexual practice
(Af J AIDS Res: 2002 1(2): 97-101)