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Community Characteristics, Sexual Initiation and Condom Use among Young Black South Africans

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionBurgard, Sarah, and Susan Lee-Rife. 2008. "Community Characteristics, Sexual Initiation and Condom Use among Young Black South Africans." PSC Research Report No. 08-646. June 2008.

Individual and household-level characteristics that influence sexual behavior have been extensively studied in South Africa, but community characteristics have received limited attention. We use data from a representative sample of young people in KwaZulu Natal and several sources of community data with multilevel discrete time hazard models and multilevel logistic regression models to provide new evidence. Net of individual and household characteristics, higher levels of community concentrated disadvantage are associated with increased risk of unprotected sex among young men, while higher levels of social disorder are associated with lower risk. Additionally, higher levels of social cohesion delay sexual initiation among young men. Findings are weaker for young women, among whom only social disorder remains associated with the hazard of sexual initiation after adjustment for individual and household characteristics. We discuss these results in light of previous research and the backdrop of gender norms and the HIV epidemic in South Africa.

Country of focus: South Africa.

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