Linking Psychosocial Factors to Young South Africans' Intention to Use Condoms: The Moderating Role of HIV/AIDS Information

By Usadolo, Sam Erevbenagie; Usadolo, Queen | E - Journal of Social & Behavioural Research in Business, January 1, 2018 | Go to article overview

Linking Psychosocial Factors to Young South Africans' Intention to Use Condoms: The Moderating Role of HIV/AIDS Information


Usadolo, Sam Erevbenagie, Usadolo, Queen, E - Journal of Social & Behavioural Research in Business


(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

Introduction

South Africa has one of the highest HIV infections rates in the world, with an estimated 6.3 million people living with the virus and 330,000 new infections and 200,000 deaths from AIDSrelated illnesses in 2013 (UNAIDS Gap Report, 2014). The HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa accounts for 25% of the HIV infections in Sub-Saharan Africa (Shisana et al., 2009), resulting in a poor labour supply and the South African government spending billions of dollars to run HIV/AIDS programmes and provide condoms (National Treasury, 2003; Vas, 2003).

Sexual transmission is the major infection route for the majority of HIV infections in South Africa (Shisana et al., 2005), resulting in higher HIV prevalence rate among women than among men according to an HIV survey in 2012 (Shishana et al., 2014). This could be because men claim to have multiple girlfriends (Bhana & Pattman, 2009), raising the prospect of a single man infecting many women. The infection rate is generally worrying for young South Africans, but more so for female youths, aged 15-24, where the infection rate is more than four times higher than the infection rate among males in the same age group (Human Science Research Council, 2012). Studies have shown that young girls between the ages of 15-24 are twice as likely as men and boys to be infected by HIV/AIDS (Bhana & Pattman, 2009), and black African females aged 20-34 years are said to have the highest incidence of HIV compared to other population groups (Shisana et al., 2014).

A number of reasons have been reported for the disparity in infection rates between men and women. For example, women's biology has been cited because it is less possible for a man to contract HIV if he sleeps with an infected person as opposed to a woman due to the biological make-up of the female genitalia and its structure (Singh, 2003; Baiden & Rajulton, 2011). Poverty, the low status of women, and gender-based violence have also been cited as reasons for the disparity in HIV prevalence among men and women in South Africa (Hunter, 2005; Bhana & Pattman, 2009). Worse still is the risky behaviour of engaging in unprotected sexual activities with multiple partners by young people who are more likely not to use condoms (Moore & Rosenthal, 1993; Coggan, Disley, Patterson & Norton, 1997), and whose youthful exuberance may encourage them to experiment with dangerous sexual intercourse practices (Kelly & Parker, 2000; Eaton, Flisher & Aarø, 2003). Ideally, with these aforementioned facts about HIV in the South African context, a study aimed at helping to develop prevention strategies should focus on the general population. However, the vulnerability of women, especially young girls, is a cause for concern. Hence, this study will focus on young girls between the ages of 14 to 19.

Given the risky behaviour of the young people, appropriate behavioural change such as the use of condoms is required to prevent HIV infection. Promoting protective behaviour, in particular, condom use, to halt the spread of HIV has been a priority for public health interventions. Besides abstinence from sexual intercourse, condoms are regarded as one of the most effective means of preventing sexually transmitted diseases (Kalichman, Carey & Johnson, 1996). Hence, continuous condom use is emphasized as a means to reduce the risk of infection by HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (Gavin et al., 2009). However, despite condoms' effectiveness in preventing HIV, several studies have pointed to a myriad of reasons why it is not a preferable and acceptable means of HIV prevention for young people. For example, a study carried out in a township in South Africa indicates, among other factors, that young people do not like using condom because it reduces their sexual pleasure (MacPhail & Campbell, 2001; Eaton et al., 2003). A similar study in the UK found the same, among other reasons (Williamson, Buston & Sweeting, 2009). …

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