Perceived Risks of HIV/AIDS and First Sexual Intercourse among Youth in Cape Town, South Africa
- First Online:
- 896 Downloads
The ‘Health Belief Model’ (HBM) identifies perception of HIV/AIDS risks, recognition of its seriousness, and knowledge about prevention as predictors of safer sexual activity. Using data from the Cape Area Panel Survey (CAPS) and hazard models, this study examines the impact of risk perception, considered the first step in HIV prevention, set within the context of the HBM and socio-economic, familial and school factors, on the timing of first sexual intercourse among youth aged 14–22 in Cape Town, South Africa. Of the HBM components, female youth who perceive their risk as ‘very small’ and males with higher knowledge, experience their sexual debut later than comparison groups, net of other influences. For both males and females socio-economic and familial factors also influence timing of sexual debut, confirming the need to consider the social embeddedness of this sexual behavior as well as the rational components of decision making when designing prevention programs.