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      Early sexual debut and associated factors among secondary school students of central zone of Tigray, Northern Ethiopia, 2018

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          Early sexual debut is common among young people and it has several sexual and reproductive health consequences. But, its burden and the associated factors leading to this behavior haven't received due attention. The main purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence and associated factors of sexual debut in the preparatory and high school students of Aksum town.


          A school-based quantitative cross-sectional study design was used for this research work. A total of 519 preparatory and high school regular students participated in the survey. The sample population was obtained by using a simple random sampling technique from each schooling proportion with their number of students. Data, that were collected using self administered questionnaires, were entered into EpiData 3.02 and analyzed in SPSS 22.0. Results were presented using frequencies, tables and graphs. Statistical significance was declared at a P-value <0.05.


          Of the total participants, 266 (51.3%) were males. The age of the participants ranged from 13 to 23 years with a mean age of 16.3 ± 1.47 years. Of the total participants, 137(26.2%) had sexual experience, among which 119 (87.5%) had an early sexual debut at an average age of 13.7 + 1.4 years. Factors that were found to be significantly associated with an early sexual debut were gender (AOR=3.41; 95% CI: 1.54, 6.99), residence (AOR=0.44; 95% CI: 0.27, 0.81), alcohol drinking (AOR=5.5; 95% CI: 2.2, 14.8), cigarette smoking (AOR=3.3; 95% CI: 2.3, 7.5), exposure to pornography, such as reading/seeing pornographic materials (AOR=7.4; 95% CI: 4.4, 11.78), living arrangement for educational purpose (AOR= 0.43; 95% CI: 0.13, 0.89), grade (AOR=0.38; 95% CI: 0.06, 0.68) and monthly living allowance (AOR=0.419; 95% CI: 0.2, 0.9).


          A significant number of students reported early sexual debut. Gender, place of residence, alcohol drinking, cigarette smoking, exposure to pornography, grade and living arrangement for educational purpose and monthly living allowance were significant predictors of an early sexual debut.

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          Most cited references 18

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          Age at sexual debut: a determinant of multiple partnership among South African youth.

          Age at sexual debut is an important determinant of HIV infection. The paper investigates the effects of age at sexual debut on sexual behaviour among South African youth. Among 2 875 respondents who ever had sexual intercourse, 39% had early sexual debut (sexual debut at age 16 years and below). Males (44.6%) were significantly more likely than females (35.1%) to report early sexual debut (odds ratio (OR) = 1.45, p-value < 0.001). Multiple sexual partners are significantly more common among those that had early sexual debut (10.4% vs. 4.8%) than those who had late sexual debut, (OR = 2.29, p-value < 0.001). Those aged 15 to 19 years were 1.4 times more likely to report multiple partners compared to those aged 20 to 24 years. Delaying sexual debut is a strategy many national programmes are promoting. The results of this study provide additional arguments to support such initiatives and show the need to strengthen intervention targeting youth.
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            Incidence and Predictors of Adolescent’s Early Sexual Debut after Three Decades of HIV Interventions in Tanzania: A Time to Debut Analysis

            Purpose To determine the incidence and predictors of adolescent’s early sexual debut after three decades of HIV interventions in Tanzania. Methods In a cross-section study of adolescents aged 16–19 residing in Morogoro Municipality, information on socio-demographic, parental-and-peer communication, and sexual behaviors were collected. Cox-regression analysis was used to examine predictors of time to sexual debut. Results A total of 316 adolescents with mean age of 17.5±0.9 were recruited. Half (48.7%) of adolescent were sexually active with mean age at sexual debut of 14.6±2.3. Of these, 57.8% had sex before their 15th birthday with incidence of early sexual debut of 17.4/1000 person-years at risk. Adolescent family characteristics, peer pressure, alcohol use, parental and peer communication were key predictors of early sexual debut. Conclusion Parental and peer communication strategies works calling for efforts to increase its scope to reach all adolescents alongside promoting family stability and reducing adolescent alcohol consumption.
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              The influence of early sexual debut and sexual violence on adolescent pregnancy: a matched case-control study in Jamaica.

              Contraceptive knowledge and use at first sex have increased over time among Jamaican adolescents, yet high unintended pregnancy rates persist. More information on risk factors for adolescent pregnancy is needed to inform programs. Structured interviews were conducted with 15-17-year-old females-250 who were currently pregnant and 500 sexually experienced, but never-pregnant, neighborhood-matched controls. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to examine associations between adolescent pregnancy and early sexual debut, sexual coercion or violence and sexual risk-taking behaviors. Greater proportions of pregnant youth than of their never-pregnant peers reported having had first sex by age 14 (54% vs. 41%), a first sexual partner who was five or more years older (33% vs. 20%) or multiple partners (63% vs. 50%); a greater proportion of never-pregnant youth had used contraceptives at first sex (88% vs. 80%). Almost half (49%) of all young women reported ever having experienced sexual coercion or violence. Compared with controls, pregnant youth had greater odds of having had an older partner at first sex and believing contraception is a woman's responsibility (odds ratios, 1.3 and 2.1, respectively), and had lower odds of ever having experienced sexual violence and thinking that it is important to protect oneself against pregnancy (0.5 and 0.2, respectively). An interaction between early sexual debut and multiple partners was found. Having had multiple partners was associated with pregnancy only for youth with early sexual debut. Encouraging adolescents to delay sexual debut and reduce their number of sexual partners may help prevent unintended pregnancies. Experiences of sexual coercion and violence were common among both groups, highlighting the need to address gender-based violence at the community level.

                Author and article information

                Pan Afr Med J
                Pan Afr Med J
                The Pan African Medical Journal
                The African Field Epidemiology Network
                01 September 2019
                : 34
                [1 ]Department of Adult health Nursing, School of Nursing, College of Health Science and Comprehensive Specialized Hospital, Aksum University, Tigray, Ethiopia
                [2 ]Department of Pediatric and Child Health Nursing, School of Nursing, College of Health Science and Comprehensive Specialized Hospital, Aksum University, Tigray, Ethiopia
                Author notes
                [& ]Corresponding author: Alem Girmay, Department of Adult health Nursing, School of Nursing, College of Health Science and Comprehensive Specialized Hospital, Aksum University, Tigray, Ethiopia
                © Alem Girmay et al.

                The Pan African Medical Journal - ISSN 1937-8688. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



                sexual debut, adolescent, ethiopia


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