Article Text

Safe-sex belief and sexual risk behaviours among adolescents from three developing countries: a cross-sectional study
  1. Alfonso Osorio1,2,3,
  2. Cristina Lopez-del Burgo1,3,4,
  3. Miguel Ruiz-Canela3,4,
  4. Silvia Carlos1,3,4,
  5. Jokin de Irala1,3,4
  1. 1Institute for Culture and Society (ICS), University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
  2. 2School of Education and Psychology, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
  3. 3IdiSNA, Navarra Institute for Health Research, Pamplona, Spain
  4. 4Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jokin de Irala; jdeirala{at}unav.es

Abstract

Objectives This study intends to evaluate whether the belief that condoms are 100% effective in protecting against HIV infection is associated with sexual risk behaviours among youth.

Methods A cross-sectional study was performed in representative samples of high-school students in the Philippines, El Salvador and Peru. Participants completed a self-administered questionnaire. Students were asked about the risk of HIV transmission if one has sex using condoms. They were also asked to indicate whether they had ever had sexual relations and whether they used a condom in their first sexual relation. The sample was composed of 8994 students, aged 13–18.

Results One out of seven adolescents believed condoms are 100% effective (safe-sex believers). Those adolescents were 82% more likely to have had sex than those without such belief, after adjusting for confounders (OR=1.82; 95% CI 1.51 to 2.21). On the contrary, no association was found between risk perception and condom use. Subgroup and sensitivity analyses produced similar results.

Conclusions This is, to the best of our knowledge, the first study conducted specifically to evaluate this phenomenon and that has used the same questionnaire and the same data collection protocol in three different developing countries from Asia, Central and South America. These results reasonably suggest that there could be an association between safe sex beliefs and sexual initiation. Longitudinal studies are needed to better understand this possible association as it could influence how to better promote sexual health.

  • PUBLIC HEALTH
  • SEXUAL MEDICINE
  • SOCIAL MEDICINE

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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