Differences in sexual practices, sexual behavior and HIV risk profile between adolescents and young persons in rural and urban Nigeria

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Introduction: We aimed to determine differences in sexual practices, HIV sexual risk behaviors, and HIV risk profile of adolescents and young persons’ in rural and urban Nigeria. Methodology: We recruited 772 participants 15 to 24 years old from urban and rural townships in Nigeria through a household survey. Information on participants’ socio-demographic profile (age sex, residential area, number of meals taken per day), sexual practices (vagina, oral and anal sex; heterosexual and homosexual sex; sex with spouse, casual acquaintances, boy/girlfriend and commercial sex workers), sexual behavior (age of sexual debut, use of condom, multiple sex partners, transactional sex and age of sexual partner), and other HIV risk factors (use of alcohol and psychoactive substances, reason for sexual debut, knowledge of HIV prevention and HIV transmission, report of STI symptoms) were collected through an interviewer administered questionnaire. Differences in sexual behavior and sexual practices of adolescents and HIV risk profile of adolescents and young persons resident in urban and rural areas were determined. Results: More than half (53.5%) of the respondents were sexually active, with more residing in the rural than urban areas (64.9% vs 44.1%; p < 0.001) and more resident in the rural area reporting having more than one sexual partner (29.5% vs 20.4%; p = 0.04). Also, 97.3% of sexually active respondents reported having vaginal sex, 8.7% reported oral sex and 1.9% reported anal sex. More male than female respondents in the urban area used condoms during the last vaginal sexual intercourse (69.1% vs 51.9%; p = 0.02), and reported sex with casual partners (7.0% vs 15.3%; p = 0.007). More female than male respondents residing in the rural area engaged in transactional sex (1.0% vs 6.7%; p = 0.005). More females than males in both rural (3.6% vs 10.2%; p = 0.04) and urban (4.7% vs 26.6%; p < 0.001) areas self-reported a history of discharge. More females than males in both rural (1.4% vs 17.0%; p = 0.04) and urban (15.0% vs 29.1%; p < 0.001) areas self-reported a history of itching. Conclusion: There are differences in the sexual behavior and practices of adolescents and young persons’ residing in the urban and rural area with implication for HIV prevention programming.