Cleland, J., Harrison, A., Frohlich, J., Gouws, E.
Objective: This report examines early sexual debut (under 15 years) among young men in rural South Africa including:
risk behaviours at first sexual experience
age at first sex as a predictor of later sexual risk
Methods: Analysis of sexual behaviour data for men 15–24 years (n = 314) from representative cross sectional household survey.
Results: 13.1% of 15–24 year old men experienced sexual debut before age 15. Men with sexual debut at less than age 15 were more likely to report risk behaviours at first sexual experience: no condom use (19%), a casual partner (26.8%), and not feeling they had been “ready and wanted to have sex” (19.5%). In multivariate analysis, early sexual debut was strongly associated with ≥3 partners in the past 3 years (OR = 10.26, p
Conclusions: Men who initiate sex before age 15 form a distinct risk group in this setting. Specific interventions are needed for young men in the preteen years, before sexual debut.