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Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title HIV/AIDS Risk Behaviours of Young Females in Botswana
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2004
URL https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/3064/2/Krishnan_HIV-AIDS_Risk_Behaviours.pdf
Botswana has the unfortunate designation of being a leader in AIDS, a country where the prevalence rate among people in the age group 15 to 49 is almost 40 percent. Of those infected, 54 percent are women. An estimated 40 percent of all pregnant women seeking antenatal care are infected with HIV, hindering social and economic development over and above the physical and emotional suffering to those infected. Young females are particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS because they are more likely than their older counterparts to engage in behaviors, such as unprotected sex that place them at high risk for HIV infection. Based on data from the 2001 Botswana AIDS Impact Survey, this paper describes the socio-demographic profile of young females in Botswana and outlines HIV/AIDS risk behaviors, including perceptions that make them vulnerable to the disease. Findings showed the average age at first intercourse of young females as 19 years with an overwhelming majority having had sex between 15 and 19 years of age. Fourteen percent had more than two partners and almost onethird of the young females did not use a condom last time they had sex with a partner. Women’s HIV/AIDS risk perceptions and alcohol-use affect risky sexual behaviors, regardless of their sociodemographic background. The findings suggest that AIDS education interventions targeting young females need to adopt a developmental perspective that reduces gender inequalities.

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