BACKGROUND: Any sexual activity that increases the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and unwanted pregnancies is considered risky sexual behavior (RSB). Although it is assumed that university students are fully aware of HIV risks and preventive measures, evidence suggests that they are more likely to engage in RSB.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence of risky sexual behavior and associated factors among students of Hawassa University, college of medicine and health science, Ethiopia
METHOD: An institutional-based cross-sectional study was conducted from July 18 to August 30, 2022. A total of 334 students were selected first by stratified based on their academic year and then selected using a simple random sampling method. A structured self-administered questionnaire was used to collect the data. Epi-Data version 3.1 was used for data entry and the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20 was used for data analysis. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to identify factors associated with RSB.
RESULT: The prevalence of RSB among students at Hawassa University College of medicine and health science was 109(34.4%). Drinking alcohol [AOR: 8.15; 95% CI (2.68, 11.61)], watching pornography videos [AOR: 3.32; 95% CI (1.53, 6.96)], history of childhood sexual abuse [AOR: 2.34; 95% CI (1.78, 6.37)] were found to be the independent predictors of RSB. While religious engagement [AOR: 0.62; 95% CI (0.29, 0.83)] was a protective factor for RSB.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS: More than one-third of students were engaged in RSB. Alcohol consumption, watching pornography videos, history of childhood sexual abuse, and religious engagement were predicting factors for RSB. Comprehensive behavioral intervention programs are needed on the identified factors; to reduce alcohol consumption, and to improve the habit of media consumption among university students. In addition, sex education programs should rethink their approach to preventing RSB, because so far the pornography influence is rarely considered.
Risky sexual behavior, Hawassa University, Ethiopia
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