Original Articles

Youth's perceptions of HIV infection risk: a sex-specific test of two risk models


Abstract

The study examines the associations between the cumulative and additive risk models and Nigerian youth's likelihood of perceiving vulnerability to HIV infection. Both models of risk seem to provide unique contributions to such understanding. The analysis is based on data from the 2003 Demographic and Health survey in Nigeria. For males, the model of cumulative risk revealed a consistent and positive association between the number of risk factors experienced and perceived vulnerability to HIV infection. For females, the same model revealed that those who had experienced two risk factors perceived more vulnerability to HIV infection than those who had experienced three risk factors. The model of additive risk revealed that having had a sexually transmitted disease was associated with males' perceptions of vulnerability to HIV infection, whereas past sexual activity and having had multiple sexual partners were linked to females' perceptions of vulnerability. These sex-specific findings are highly relevant for HIV prevention and intervention programmes for youth in sub-Saharan Africa as we strive to reverse current trends in the epidemic.

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