Objective: The aim of this research is to explain gender disparity in risky sexual behaviors among undergraduate students in Ethiopia.
Setting: this study was conducted at Dambi Dollo University undergraduate students in Ethiopia. Participants: From the total of 633 sample size 579 received and returned complete questionnaire from which 330 were males and 279 were females. Simple random sampling method was used to select the participants. Respondents enrolled under other programs than regular program were excluded.
Primary outcome: risky sexual behaviour is the primary outcome measured in this study. It is derived from any sexual act that can enhance the transmission of sexually transmitted infections including HIV and unplanned pregnancy. STATA 15 was used for data management and analysis. A multivariate decomposition analysis for non-linear model was used to determine the magnitude and drivers of gender disparity in risky sexual behavior. Latent class analysis was also used to produce latent class in HIV/AIDS related knowledge.
Result: There is a 33.2% extra risk in sexual behavior among males with a 95% CI (26.4, 39.9). Of this disparity, 32.6% with 95% CI (6.5 to 15.1), p<0.001, is attributable to differences in characteristics between boys and girls. The remaining 67.4% with a 95% CI (14.1 to 30.6), P<0.001, of the raw difference is, however, explained by the differences in response behavior to changes in characteristics between the sexes. Being Muslim, communication with parents, communication with friends, substance use and knowledge about HIV/AIDS explained the observed male-female gap in risky sexual behavior.
Conclusions: Addressing gender inequalities in risky sexual behavior among youth requires gender sensitive policies and strategies. Risk reduction strategies should focus on religions, parents and peers. Policy on substance ban should be in place and effectively administered. Gender sensitive awareness raising and educational programs about substance use and HIV/AIDS should be strengthened.
Risky Sexual Behaviour; Youth, Sexual and Reproductive Health
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