Geographic and social influences on HIV risk behavior among urban young men in Tanzania Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Yamanis, Thespina Jeanne
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Health Behavior
  • Introduction: In Sub-Saharan Africa, over six million youth ages 15-24 are living with HIV. One promising HIV prevention strategy for youth is to target high risk sexual networks in the places where they socialize. High risk sexual networks are characterized in part by concurrent sexual partnerships. This study described the prevalence of and associated risk factors for having concurrent partnerships among a sample of young men in Tanzania, and qualitatively described the venues in which these young men socialize. Methods: The PLACE (priorities for local AIDS control efforts) method was applied in one ward of Dar es Salaam. Interviews with community informants identified eighty-three venues where young men were known to meet new sexual partners. In sixty-seven of these venues a cross-sectional survey was conducted with 671 men ages 15-19 to describe their sexual partnerships. Observations (n=23) and in-depth interviews (n=46) were conducted at twenty-four purposively selected venues to describe their physical and social features. Results: Half of all sexually active men in the sample engaged in at least one concurrent partnership within the past six months. Men who reported symptoms of sexually transmitted infections were twice as likely to have engaged in a concurrent partnership as those who reported no symptoms (95% CI: 1.62-2.77). Factors that increased the likelihood of concurrency included early sexual debut, attendance at multiple venues, not sleeping at parents' home the night before the interview, and alcohol use within sexual partnerships. Qualitative results described the venues in which these men met new sexual partners. The majority of the venues (86%) were known as camps, social gathering places for youth that required membership. The camp environment facilitated risky behaviors, including drinking alcohol. Healthy behaviors were promoted among camp members through camp leadership, strong social ties and income-generating activities. Conclusions: Young men reported a high prevalence of concurrent sexual partnerships. The camps where young men socialize have both risk and therapeutic features that influence men's behaviors. Program implications include enhancing the role of camps in promoting healthy behaviors and addressing concurrent partnerships as part of the constellation of risk behaviors that place youth at risk for HIV.
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  • In Copyright
  • Maman, Suzanne
  • Open access

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