Prevalence and correlates of sexual risk behaviors among Jamaican adolescents

Case Studies & Research
10 p.
Periodical title
International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 37(1)

Despite high levels of sexual activity and risk behaviors among Jamaican youth, few population-based studies have examined their prevalence or correlates. The prevalence of three sexual risk behaviors was assessed using data from the 2008-2009 Jamaican Reproductive Health Survey on a subsample of adolescents aged 15-19 who neither were in a union nor had a child. Factors associated with the risk behaviors were examined separately for females and males, using bivariate analysis and multivariate logistic regression. In the year prior to the survey, 32% of females and 54% of males had had sexual intercourse; of those, 12% and 52%, respectively, had had more than one sexual partner, and 49% and 46% had used condoms inconsistently or not at all. School enrollment was protective against females being sexually active and males having multiple partners. Females who were enrolled in an age-appropriate or higher grade had decreased odds of using condoms inconsistently or not at all, and males who were enrolled in a lower than age-appropriate grade had a decreased risk of being sexually active. Males in the lowest wealth tercile were less likely than those in the highest tercile to have been sexually active or to have had multiple partners. Weekly attendance at religious services was protective against all three risk behaviors for both genders, with the exception of inconsistent or no condom use among males. Future reproductive health programs should continue to target adolescents in venues other than schools and churches, and should also address the varying needs of females and males.

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