Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 48, Issue 7, pp 2117–2123 | Cite as

Risky Sexual Behaviors and Associated Factors Among College Students in Lusaka, Zambia

  • Xu-hao Yang
  • Shuai Yuan
  • Rui Zhang
  • Jun-feng Yu
  • Selestine H. Nzala
  • Pei-gang Wang
  • Qi-qiang HeEmail author
Original Paper


Risky sexual behaviors are important factors driving the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Although Zambia experiences a high HIV prevalence, especially among youth, there is a dearth of information regarding risky sexual behaviors among young adults. Therefore, we investigated the prevalence and associated factors of risky sexual behaviors among college students in Lusaka, Zambia. A cross-sectional study was conducted in February 2017 among 427 college students at the University of Zambia. Participants reported their sexual behaviors, sexual attitudes, and lifestyle using self-administered questionnaires. Multinomial logistic regression models were employed to assess potential determinants of risky sexual behaviors. Among the 205 students who reported ever having sex, 148 (72.2%) engaged in risky sexual behaviors in the last 12 months. Participants who were older (OR 1.30, 95% CI 1.12–1.51), engaged in low physical activity (OR 2.25, 95% CI 1.05–4.84), and reported liberal sexual attitudes (OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.02–3.47) were more likely to engage in any risky sexual behavior, while frequent alcohol use (OR 8.38, 95% CI 4.60–15.27) and suicide attempts (OR 6.42, 95% CI 2.03–20.29) predicted multiple risky sexual behaviors. In conclusion, this study indicates that Zambian college students’ risky sexual behaviors are associated with multiple behavioral health risks. Future research should consider using a multiple-behavior change intervention.


College students Sexual behaviors Sexual attitudes Lifestyle Sexual risk 



We very gratefully acknowledge the participation of the study children and their parents.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Ethical Approval

All procedures involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of Wuhan University and UNZA Medical Research Committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xu-hao Yang
    • 1
  • Shuai Yuan
    • 1
  • Rui Zhang
    • 1
  • Jun-feng Yu
    • 1
  • Selestine H. Nzala
    • 2
  • Pei-gang Wang
    • 1
  • Qi-qiang He
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Health SciencesWuhan UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of MedicineUniversity of ZambiaLusakaZambia

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