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Traditional values of virginity and sexual behaviour in rural Ethiopian youth: results from a cross-sectional study.

Molla M, Berhane Y, Lindtjørn B - BMC Public Health (2008)

Bottom Line: We found that maintaining virginity is still a way of securing marriage for girls, especially in rural areas; the odds of belief and intention to marry a virgin among boys was 3-4 times higher among rural young males.As age increased, the likelihood of remaining a virgin decreased.Although virginity norms help delay age at sexual debut among rural Ethiopian youth, and thus reduces vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections and HIV infection, vulnerability among females may increase after marriage due to unprotected multiple risky sexual behaviours by spouses.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Armauer Hansen Building, 5021, Bergen, Norway. Mitike.Sisay@student.uib.no

ABSTRACT

Background: Delaying sexual initiation has been promoted as one of the methods of decreasing risks of HIV among young people. In traditional countries, such as Ethiopia, retaining virginity until marriage is the norm. However, no one has examined the impact of this traditional norm on sexual behaviour and risk of HIV in marriage. This study examined the effect of virginity norm on having sex before marriage and sexual behaviour after marriage among rural Ethiopian youth.

Methods: We did a cross-sectional survey in 9 rural and 1 urban area using a probabilistic sample of 3,743 youth, 15-24 years of age. Univariate analysis was used to assess associations between virginity norm and gender stratified by area, and between sexual behaviour and marital status. We applied Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analysis to estimate age at sexual debut and assessed the predictors of premarital sex among the never-married using SPSS.

Results: We found that maintaining virginity is still a way of securing marriage for girls, especially in rural areas; the odds of belief and intention to marry a virgin among boys was 3-4 times higher among rural young males. As age increased, the likelihood of remaining a virgin decreased. There was no significant difference between married and unmarried young people in terms of number of partners and visiting commercial sex workers. Married men were twice more likely to have multiple sexual partners than their female counterparts. A Cox regression show that those who did not believe in traditional values of preserving virginity (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR] = 2.91 [1.92-4.40]), alcohol drinkers (AHR = 2.91 [1.97-4.29]), Khat chewers (AHR = 2.36 [1.45-3.85]), literates (AHR = 18.01 [4.34-74.42]), and the older age group (AHR = 1.85 [1.19-2.91]) were more likely to have premarital sex than their counterparts.

Conclusion: Although virginity norms help delay age at sexual debut among rural Ethiopian youth, and thus reduces vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections and HIV infection, vulnerability among females may increase after marriage due to unprotected multiple risky sexual behaviours by spouses. The use of preventive services, such as VCT before marriage and condom use in marriage should be part of the HIV/AIDS prevention and control strategies.

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Kaplan-Meier indicating age at sexual debut among never-married and ever-married male and female youth in Butajira, Ethiopia.
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Figure 1: Kaplan-Meier indicating age at sexual debut among never-married and ever-married male and female youth in Butajira, Ethiopia.

Mentions: Among the married 698, 96 (14%) males and 567 (81%) females reported that they had their first sexual experience when they get married at a median age of 16 years. Plots of the KM in Figure 1A indicate the proportion of young males who were married and those who were engaged in premarital sexual activity. The ever-married curve indicates that more young people initiate sex in marriage at a younger age. The never-married curve is higher than the ever-married curve with an increased downward slope after age 20 years, indicating that most young people did not engage in premarital sex at an early age. The wide gap between the ever-married and the never-married group suggests that premarital sex is not common in the study area. The age at sexual debut is lower among the married males (mean [95% CI] = 19 [18.5–19.4]) than the never-married males (mean [95% CI] = 23.2 [22.9–23.3]).


Traditional values of virginity and sexual behaviour in rural Ethiopian youth: results from a cross-sectional study.

Molla M, Berhane Y, Lindtjørn B - BMC Public Health (2008)

Kaplan-Meier indicating age at sexual debut among never-married and ever-married male and female youth in Butajira, Ethiopia.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2254614&req=5

Figure 1: Kaplan-Meier indicating age at sexual debut among never-married and ever-married male and female youth in Butajira, Ethiopia.
Mentions: Among the married 698, 96 (14%) males and 567 (81%) females reported that they had their first sexual experience when they get married at a median age of 16 years. Plots of the KM in Figure 1A indicate the proportion of young males who were married and those who were engaged in premarital sexual activity. The ever-married curve indicates that more young people initiate sex in marriage at a younger age. The never-married curve is higher than the ever-married curve with an increased downward slope after age 20 years, indicating that most young people did not engage in premarital sex at an early age. The wide gap between the ever-married and the never-married group suggests that premarital sex is not common in the study area. The age at sexual debut is lower among the married males (mean [95% CI] = 19 [18.5–19.4]) than the never-married males (mean [95% CI] = 23.2 [22.9–23.3]).

Bottom Line: We found that maintaining virginity is still a way of securing marriage for girls, especially in rural areas; the odds of belief and intention to marry a virgin among boys was 3-4 times higher among rural young males.As age increased, the likelihood of remaining a virgin decreased.Although virginity norms help delay age at sexual debut among rural Ethiopian youth, and thus reduces vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections and HIV infection, vulnerability among females may increase after marriage due to unprotected multiple risky sexual behaviours by spouses.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre for International Health, University of Bergen, Armauer Hansen Building, 5021, Bergen, Norway. Mitike.Sisay@student.uib.no

ABSTRACT

Background: Delaying sexual initiation has been promoted as one of the methods of decreasing risks of HIV among young people. In traditional countries, such as Ethiopia, retaining virginity until marriage is the norm. However, no one has examined the impact of this traditional norm on sexual behaviour and risk of HIV in marriage. This study examined the effect of virginity norm on having sex before marriage and sexual behaviour after marriage among rural Ethiopian youth.

Methods: We did a cross-sectional survey in 9 rural and 1 urban area using a probabilistic sample of 3,743 youth, 15-24 years of age. Univariate analysis was used to assess associations between virginity norm and gender stratified by area, and between sexual behaviour and marital status. We applied Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analysis to estimate age at sexual debut and assessed the predictors of premarital sex among the never-married using SPSS.

Results: We found that maintaining virginity is still a way of securing marriage for girls, especially in rural areas; the odds of belief and intention to marry a virgin among boys was 3-4 times higher among rural young males. As age increased, the likelihood of remaining a virgin decreased. There was no significant difference between married and unmarried young people in terms of number of partners and visiting commercial sex workers. Married men were twice more likely to have multiple sexual partners than their female counterparts. A Cox regression show that those who did not believe in traditional values of preserving virginity (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR] = 2.91 [1.92-4.40]), alcohol drinkers (AHR = 2.91 [1.97-4.29]), Khat chewers (AHR = 2.36 [1.45-3.85]), literates (AHR = 18.01 [4.34-74.42]), and the older age group (AHR = 1.85 [1.19-2.91]) were more likely to have premarital sex than their counterparts.

Conclusion: Although virginity norms help delay age at sexual debut among rural Ethiopian youth, and thus reduces vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections and HIV infection, vulnerability among females may increase after marriage due to unprotected multiple risky sexual behaviours by spouses. The use of preventive services, such as VCT before marriage and condom use in marriage should be part of the HIV/AIDS prevention and control strategies.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus