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Gender differences in risky sexual behaviour among South Africans: evidence from recent demographic and health survey

Olusegun Sunday Ewemooje
Elizabeth Biney
Acheampong Yaw Amoateng


Despite scientific developments, public health efforts have not been able to limit the spread of the HIV epidemic in one of the hardest-hit countries, South Africa. In the context of the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in South Africa, and among females specifically, this study examined gender differentials in, as well as other factors that influence sexual behaviour. Specifically, the studyused the 2016 South African Health and Demographic Survey data to compare gender differences in risky sexual behaviour of persons aged 15–59 years in the country. The results showed a gender gap in sexual behaviour, where males were more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour. Furthermore, factors such as respondents’ age, race, education, wealth index, and relationship status generally predicted risky sexual behaviour; with varied effects depending on gender. The findings contribute to the understanding of the intersection between gender and sexual behaviour in sub-Saharan Africa.

Keywords: Determinants; Gender; HIV; Risky sexual behaviour; South Africa