Media communication programmes and HIV transmission risk behaviour among sexually active South African youths

Clifford O. Odimegwu, Yemi Adewoyin, Nyasha Mutanda

Abstract

South Africa houses 30% of sub-Saharan Africa’s burden of HIV/AIDS, estimated at 25.7 million cases. To increase awareness among the population and encourage a behavioural change to stem its transmission, several HIV media communication programmes (HCP) have been instituted in the country. Findings on the efficacy of these programmes on HIV transmission risk behaviour have however been divergent. Using the Third National Communications Survey (NCS) in South Africa, this study investigates how exposure to HCP has affected condom use and multiple sexual partnership (MSP) among 2,247 sexually active South African youths aged 16-24. Analysis was done at univariate, bivariate and multivariate levels using Stata statistical software. Results show that 89.7% of the respondents were exposed to at least one form of HCP, 62.2% had low knowledge of HIV transmission, 48.9% used condoms while 12.6% engaged in MSP. Although HCP was associated with increased odds of condom use only among youths with low exposure, it had no statistically significant effect among youths with higher exposure and on MSP. As HCP exerts no influence on HIV risk behaviour among the studied cohort, tailor-made programmes focusing on the sociodemographic confounders of the behaviour might make HCP more effective. (Afr J Reprod Health 2020; 24[3]: 126-134).

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