African Journal of Reproductive Health

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Determinants of Self-Perceived HIV Risk in Young South Africans Engaged in Concurrent Sexual Relationships

C Kenyon, S Zondo, M Badri


Concurrent sexual partnerships are increasingly believed to be a key factor explaining the size of the HIV pandemic in Southern and Eastern Africa. Little, however, is known about what determines if persons in concurrent relationships develop a perception of being at risk for HIV infection. Data from a representative sample of 2245 young sexually active inhabitants of Cape Town, South Africa, were analysed using multivariate logistic regression to examine what the correlates of HIV risk were in both those involved in concurrent relations (termed the high risk group) and in those not (the low risk group). A considerable difference was noted between males and females. In the high risk group, amongst the males, secondary level education (as compared with primary or post-secondary level), and believing in monogamy (as a means of HIV risk reduction) were correlated with a decreased-perception-of-HIV-risk. The usage of drugs was associated with an increased-perception-of-HIV-risk. Amongst the females, a longer time since sexual debut, having experienced sexual coercion, a greater number of sex partners in the past year and knowing someone who died of AIDS were correlated with an increased-HIV-risk-perception (Afr. J. Reprod. Health 2010; 14[3]: 171-181).

Key words: HIV risk perception, sexual partner concurrency, health belief model, illness representation theory, social identity theory, cognitive dissonance theory.

AJOL African Journals Online