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The University of the West Indies (Cave Hill)

Articles by The University of the West Indies (Cave Hill)

Risk taking sexual behaviors among young adults – findings from a cross sectional population based survey in Barbados

Published on: 25th May, 2020

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 8600330342

Background: The National Strategic Plan for HIV Prevention and Control 2014-2018 recognized the need for the utilization of research findings to guide the development of HIV policies, programs and interventions for the general population and key population groups and to inform the allocation of government resources to the areas of greatest impact and need. To this end, a Knowledge, Attitudes, Beliefs and Sexual Practices Survey (KABP) was conducted among adults’ ages 15 to 49 years. Objectives: To identify the sexual behaviors among adolescents and young adults that exposed them to the risks of HIV/STIs and to identify factors that may have to be addressed, in order to achieve further reduction in the spread of HIV in this population. Methods: This is a population based cross-sectional survey undertaken in 2016. Sample was taken from among persons’ ages 15 – 49 years using a multistage sampling methodology. The survey questionnaire was developed from Family Health International’s guidelines for repeated behavioral surveys in populations at risk of HIV. It was interviewer-administered and consisted of ninety-nine (99) closed-ended questions. The topics covered by the survey included sexual history; use of and access to condoms; and HIV testing. Participants were asked about their sexual behaviors over the last 12 months, and about their experience with their most recent partner. Results: Overall, 87.8% described themselves as heterosexual, 1.2% as bisexual and 0.5% as homosexual. By the age 16, 17 1nd 19 years 25%, 50% and 75% of respondents have had sex respectively. Among the 763 respondents reporting vaginal or anal sex over the past 12 months, 80.6 and 19.4% had a single and multiple sex partner respectively. Also, 94.4%, 13.3% and 1.6% reported to have regular, non-regular and commercial sex partners respectively. Overall, 54.6% used condom at the last sex, the corresponding figure for the regular and non-regular partners were 41.2% 80.8% respectively. Only 40.9% reported to have had a HIV test done over the past 12 months and of those who did not, 42.8% had never been tested for HIV. Conclusion: Inconsistent and infrequent condom use and low HIV testing especially among the adolescents and younger adults, in the setting of young ages at sexual debut and multiple sexual partners. Findings form this study strongly recommends for a much greater effort from the public health at promoting condom use and HIV testing especially targeting the younger persons who risk their own protection and that of their partners.
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