|dc.description.abstract||The study examined correlates of HIV perceived risks and protective strategies among
adolescents in rural Malawi i.e. whether there was an association between socio
demographic characteristics of adolescents and subsequent HIV perceived risks and
protective strategies. Age at sexual debut is a variable of interest in this study. The objectives
were to investigate whether age at first sexual intercourse does influence adolescents’
individual’s risk perceptions of HIV and protective strategies, i.e. does age at first sex set a
precedence in the thinking of adolescentswith regards HIV risks and protective strategies
such as condom use.
Data: This study uses cross sectional data from Wave 3 of a wider study, the Malawi
Diffusion and Ideational Change Project (MDICP).The MDICP is a joint collaboration
between researchers from the Population Studies Centre at the University of Pennsylvania
and the University of Malawi‘s College of Medicine and Chancellor College. In this study, a
multiple regression analysis on the cross sectional data from the 2004 wave 3of the Malawi
Diffusion and Ideational Change Project was done. The focus of this study is on the
relationship between age at first sexual intercourse and the individual‘s perception of risk of
HIV/AIDS and protective strategies, it examines if there is an association between the two
Descriptive analysis: Descriptive statistics to obtain the frequencies of the main variables of
interest such as the background characteristics of respondents (gender, marital status, mean
age at sexual debut, education, economic status of household) were computed in order to
better understand the population under study.
Multivariate Analysis: Three separate models were employed; two multinomial regression
analysis measuring worry and likelihood of infection against socio demographic variables
and a binary logistic regression measuring condom use and the socio demographic
variables. Relative Risk Ratios were used to interpret the multinomial logistic regression
output while odds ratios were used to interpret the logistic output.
Results: Consistent with existing literature, results indicate that early age at first sex is
a predictor of HIV risk perceptions and protective strategies. Age at first sex does set a
precedence in the future thinking of adolescents with regards to how they perceive HIV risks,
as well as how they perceive protective strategies against HIV-particularly condom use. This
study confirms that age at first sex alongside with other socio demographic variables are
significantly associated with HIV risk perceptions HIV and condom use, while other factors
may matter, such as gender, region, HIV knowledge, religion or educational level.
Limitations: The information on age at first sexual encounter was based exclusively on
respondent’s self–reports. This data collection method often has limitations that are
attributed to the tendency for people to under-report socially unacceptable behaviours (e.g.
having multiple sex partners) and to over-report socially acceptable behavior. The other
limitation is that the study lacks longitudinal data to allow a more in-depth analysis of trends
in HIV/AIDS-related indicators.||en