High-risk, unprotected sex is more likely for young men than women – even among educated urban populations – reveals a study, suggesting that males are at least 10 times more likely to engage in high-risk sexual behaviour than their female counterparts.
Yifru Berhan and Asres Berhan from Hawassa University in Ethiopia studied the sexual habits of nearly 85,000 young people in order to understand how the practices of young men and women differed.
They found that males aged 15-19 were 27 times more likely than females the same age to indulge in high-risk behaviour like having unprotected heterosexual sex with non-regular partners.
The findings, reported in medicalexpress.com, also suggested that living in an urban area and being well educated made a person more likely to go for unprotected sex.
“The susceptibility of male youths to higher risk sex was significantly higher than the female youths regardless of the assessed independent variables (sex, age, education, residence and wealth index),” the authors wrote in a paper published in the SAHARA-J: Journal of Social Aspects of AIDS/HIV.
“The consistent and strong association of higher risk sex with male youth is probably strong evidence to surmise that being a male youth is a strong predictor of practicing higher risk sex than the other assessed variables,” they added.
For the study, the team sifted through data from the Demographic and Health Surveys (from sub-Saharan Africa plus Bolivia, Cambodia, Guyana, Haiti and Vietnam).
The researchers suggest that the generally younger age of marriage for females as well as the fact that males have higher rates of substance abuse, are more likely to have multiple partners and first have sex at younger age may all play a part.