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Interrelationships between sexual behaviour, condom use, and first union among youth in sub-Saharan Africa

Hantamalala Rafalimanana, United Nations

This paper documents the variety of recent trends in sexual debut and condom use among adolescents and young adults in sub-Saharan African countries, paying particular attention to very early sexual initiation and differences by gender. The dominant trend is a decline in the proportion of women aged 15 to 19 who had their first intercourse before age 15, but in the 2000s, this proportion ranges widely from less than 5 percent to over 25 percent. The role played by socioeconomic factors in influencing sexual behaviour and condom use is analyzed. In general, living in a poor household and having a low educational attainment are related to younger age at first sex and lower use of condoms. Finally, the relationship between early intercourse and early union (marriage or cohabitation) is explored. In most countries, a significant proportion of adolescent girls were not married or in a union when they had their first sex.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Poster Session 2: fertility, family and children