Report Examines Condom Use, First Sexual Experiences Among Ugandans
The majority of men and women in Uganda report they started having sex by age 18, according to a study released last week by the Guttmacher Institute and distributed by Panos Eastern Africa, the Weekly Observer/AllAfrica.com reports. According to the study, many girls also reported using condoms to reduce the likelihood of getting pregnant but not to avoid contracting sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV.
The report, titled "Protecting the Next Generation in Uganda: New Evidence on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs," was based on two national surveys conducted between 2004 and 2006 involving 16,000 participants ages 12 to 49. According to the surveys, 20% of women ages 20 to 24 said they had started having sex before age 15, compared with 10% of male respondents. About 64% of female respondents said they had started having sex by age 18, compared with 50% of male respondents. In addition, 41% of the women reported using condoms to prevent pregnancy but not necessarily to prevent STIs. An equal percentage of respondents said they used condoms to prevent both pregnancy and STIs.
When respondents were asked about their first time engaging in sexual intercourse, about 50% of women and about 80% of men ages 15 to 19 said they "just felt like it," the report said. According to the Observer/AllAfrica.com, the results reflect changing attitudes about sex and HIV/AIDS. Some experts say that Ugandans have become complacent about HIV/AIDS as the disease has become more manageable. The report recommends more educational opportunities, especially for girls. The report also calls for more sex education for adolescents, increased access to condoms and a more efficient health care system that caters to youth, the Observer/AllAfrica.com reports.
"It is important to acknowledge that adolescence is a time when most [Ugandans] become sexually active and that meeting the needs of young people is integral to an effective national (HIV/AIDS) prevention campaign," the report said. The report is part of a larger project also conducted in Burkina Faso, Malawi and Ghana (Kavuma, Weekly Observer/AllAfrica.com, 3/6).
The report is available online (.pdf).