“High Risk” Partnering Patterns among Rural South African Youth: Prevalence, Correlates and Social Context

Abigail Harrison, Brown University

Within South Africa’s severe HIV epidemic, high risk partnerships and sexual behavior place young people at risk. Yet the mechanisms underlying young people’s participation in such partnerships are not well understood. Using a mixed methods approach, we examined the prevalence, correlates and social context of high risk partnerships among rural South African youth. Although most young men and women had “regular” partners, over half of men reported two or more partners during the past three years, and about one-third of men were in concurrent partnerships. Women’s relationships were of longer duration than men’s, although men had much more frequent partner contact. For women, schooling, community participation, and type of church membership were correlated with lower risk partnerships. For men, earlier sexual debut was associated with multiple partnering. These findings provide insight into the partnership dynamics of risk among young people in this severely HIV-affected setting.

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Presented in Poster Session 2