Epidemiological evidence so far suggests that multiple sexual partnerships are an important factor driving the HIV epidemic. Recently, there has been renewed emphasis on fidelity and partner-reduction in preventing HIV infections. Like many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Zambia is facing a severe HIV epidemic and young people are heavily affected. This study explores youths' perspectives on multiple sexual partnerships in the context of HIV and AIDS. The study draws on four focus group discussions and 10 in-depth interviews with university students in Lusaka, Zambia, in 2006. While the young people were generally aware of the HIV-related risk associated with multiple sexual partnerships, they felt several obstacles prevented them from changing their sexual behaviour. Of special interest are their perceptions related to socio-economic disadvantages and cultural factors.
Keywords: focus group discussions, HIV prevention, interviews, qualitative research, risk behaviour, risk perceptions, southern Africa, youth
African Journal of AIDS Research 2008, 7(1): 37–44