Investigating the influences on sexual abstinent behaviour of rural African high school going youth in KwaZulu-Natal.
Dlamini, Siyabonga Blessing.
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Introduction: The high prevalence of HIV in South Africa was confirmed by Department of Health (2005) which reported an HIV prevalence rate of 40.7 percent amongst antenatal clinic attendees at public facilities in KwaZulu-Natal in 2004. Abstinence is one of the strategies used by many different cultures where young unmarried people are encouraged to abstain from sex until marriage, to prevent young girls from getting pregnant and acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate African rural high school learners' choice of sexual abstinence and to compare abstinent versus non-abstinent African rural high school learners in order to be able to develop tailored educational messages. Abstinence was defined as not having penetrative sex, since this is the accepted definition of abstinence in Zulu culture. Objectives: a) To investigate the prevalence of abstinence from sexual intercourse amongst African rural high school learners, b) To assess demographic, psychosocial, and economic determinants of abstinence from sexual intercourse, c) To make recommendations about abstinence interventions. Method: A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out in a rural area (Ugu District in southern KwaZulu-Natal). One class of Grade 9 learners, ages 14-20 years, was selected from each often randomly selected rural high schools. An anonymous selfreporting semi-structured questionnaire used the I-Change model to investigate demographic and economic information, attitudes, social influences, self-efficacy and intentions towards sexual abstinence. Chi square and T-tests were used for bivariate analysis and Logistic regression was used to develop a model for abstinence from sexual intercourse. Results: A total of 454 learners participated with a mean age of 16.76 years (SD 1.41) age range 14-20 years. Of the sample 208 (45.8%) were male and 246 (54.2%) female. The majority were Christian (84.6% (n=384)) and of this population, 28.3% (n=127) reported that they had 'ever had sex'. Furthermore, 24.5% (n=91) of learners reported that they were currently sexually active. Fifty six percent (n=252) of learners reported that they abstained from sex. When comparing learners reporting abstinence (n= 252) with those not abstinent (n= 202), abstinent learners were significantly more often females, who had never had sex (p