Original Articles

Perceptions of High-risk Sex Among Men and Women Attending an STI Clinic in Cape Town, South Africa

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 18, issue 4, 2008 , pages: 621–624
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2008.10820242
Author(s): Kelvin MwabaUniversity of the Western Cape,, Leickness C. SimbayiHuman Sciences Research Council,, Seth C. KalichmanUniversity of Connecticut,


The widespread occurrence of sexually transmitted infections (STI's) among young adults in South Africa suggests that there is a need to increase safe sex practices among those who are sexually active. Given the high rate of HIV infection in the country, individuals who have contracted an STI may be at greatest risk of HIV. The present study sought to establish the perceptions of men and women attending an STI clinic with regard to high-risk sex. A convenience sample of 21 young men and women seeking treatment at a clinic for STIs in Cape Town, was recruited to serve as research participants. Individual in-depth interviews were conducted to ascertain perceptions of high-risk sexual behaviour. The results showed that participants were aware that sex without a condom, inconsistent condom use, casual sex and multiple sex partners constituted high-risk behavior. However, despite this knowledge, participants reported low condom use which was attributed to alcohol intoxication, transactional sex, and coercion by sex partners. The implications of these findings for effective interventions are discussed.

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