Determinants of Risky Sexual Behaviours among Adolescents in Central African Republic, Eswatini and Ghana: Evidence from Multi-Indicator Cluster Surveys
Despite the declining HIV/AIDS prevalence globally, nearly half of all new HIV infections still occur among youth, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. While determinants of risky sexual behaviour have received copious attention in the literature, we still lack multi-country studies that track regional changes in sexual risk among youth in sub-Saharan Africa. This study seeks to fill part of this gap by identifying the determinants of risky sexual behaviours among adolescents in Ghana, Central African Republic (CAR) and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). We used nationally representative sample data from the Multi Indicator Cluster survey, round four (MICS4). Results of the descriptive analysis show that overall consistent condom use is still extremely low in sub-Saharan Africa. In Ghana, only 8.5% of male youth and 7% of female youth consistently use condoms. In CAR this figure is 8% and 4% in male youth and female youth respectively. In Eswatini, with one of highest HIV prevalence in the world, the prevalence of consistent condom use is at 29% in males and 20% in females, higher than both in Ghana and CAR. Results of hierarchical models show that age at first sex does not predict risky sexual behaviour in Ghana, but it does predict risky sexual behaviour in CAR although only among young males. In Swaziland, age at first sex predicts risky sexual behaviour in both male and female youth but the relationship is not in the expected direction. Low socio-economic status predicts inconsistent condom use in all the three countries, but only among young females. This paper provides relevant policy lessons and recommendations.