Early sexual debut and associated risk factors among male and female youth in South Africa
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The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and correlates of early sexual debut among youth aged 18-24 in South Africa. In a cross-sectional population based survey 3123 youth were interviewed with a structured questionnaire in four provinces (Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga). Data analysis was restricted to youth who reported ever having sex (N=2072). Multivariable logistic regression was used to examine the relationships between the outcome early sexual debut and sexual behaviours. Results indicated that more males (17.8%) than females (6.9%) had an early sexual debut (before 15 years of age). Among young men, significant associations were found between early sexual debut and HIV knowledge, parental survival status, peer pressure, HIV status and ever STI diagnosis. For females; self-efficacy, HIV communication, ever having a transactional partner and ever experiencing coerced sex were significant associated with early sexual debut.