AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 951–960 | Cite as

Risky Sexual Behavior Among Orphan and Non-orphan Adolescents in Nyanza Province, Western Kenya

  • Milka JumaEmail author
  • Jane Alaii
  • L. Kay Bartholomew
  • Ian Askew
  • Bart Van den Borne
Original Paper


A household survey of male and female adolescents was conducted to establish whether orphanhood or other factors contribute to risky sexual behavior. Results show that orphanhood was not associated with risky sexual behavior. Sleeping in a different house from the household head and attending social activities at night were positively associated with sexual activity and transactional sex among boys and girls. Older adolescents were more likely to be sexually active while urban residents, and those who perceived their caregivers as able to provide for their basic needs, were less likely to have ever engaged in sex. Condom use at last sex was associated with older age and having talked with parents/caregivers about sexual risks. Interventions should address these predictors, promote risk reduction among all adolescents irrespective of orphan status, and strengthen parents’/guardians’ capacity to discuss sexuality with adolescents and to provide for their basic needs.


Adolescents Orphans Sexual risks Transactional sex Condom use 


Una investigación entre adolescentes masculinos y femeninos fue hecha para determinar si ser niño huérfano es un factor fuerte en el comportamiento sexual de riesgo o son otros factores. Los resultados demuestran que ser niño huérfano no es asociado directamente con el comportamiento sexual de riesgo. Dormir en otra casa que la casa de la cabeza de familia y participar en actividades sociales nocturnos (por ejemplo en discotecas) han sido asociados positivamente con las relaciones sexuales entre muchachos y muchachas por dinero u otras cosas. Los adolescentes mayores eran más sexualmente activos. Los adolescentes urbanos y los adolescentes que encuentran sus padres o sus acogedores en condiciones de poder satisfacer sus necesidades básicas demostraban menos comportamiento sexual de riesgo. El uso de condones la última vez que los adolescentes tuvieron contacto sexual había sido asociado con una edad más alta del adolescente y con conversaciones de riesgos sexuales con los padres o los acogedores. Es recomendable desarrollar intervenciones dirigidas a estos indicadores de comportamiento de riesgo que promuevan la reducción de este comportamiento independiente de ser huérfano o no, que fortalezcan la capacidad de los padres o los acogedores para hablar de temas sexuales con los adolescentes y que los ayuden a satisfacer sus necesidades básicas.

Palabras calve

Adolescentes huérfanos Riesgos sexuales Sexo por dinero o cosas Uso de condones 



The authors thank the young people who participated in the study and parents/caregivers for consenting. We also thank the data collection team for their determination, dedication and professionalism. The authors are indebted to the Kenyan Department of Children’s Services in the Ministry of Home Affairs for providing an entry point into the study communities. This study was supported by the British Department for International Development (DFID) through the Constella-Futures HAPAC3 program, the Population Council and the Netherlands organization for international cooperation in higher education (NUFFIC), through a fellowship grant to the first author.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milka Juma
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Jane Alaii
    • 2
  • L. Kay Bartholomew
    • 3
  • Ian Askew
    • 4
  • Bart Van den Borne
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health PromotionMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Khasto ConsultantsNairobiKenya
  3. 3.University of Texas School of Public HealthHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Population CouncilNairobiKenya
  5. 5.NairobiKenya

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