African Health Sciences
Makerere University Medical School
Vol. 19, No. 4, 2019, pp. 2964-2972
Bioline Code: hs19163
Full paper language: English
Document type: Study
Document available free of charge
African Health Sciences, Vol. 19, No. 4, 2019, pp. 2964-2972
© Copyright 2019 - Muchiri et al.
Trends and gender differences in age at sex debut among adolescents and young adults in urban Cape Area, South Africa|
Muchiri, Evans & Odimegwu, Clifford
Background: Adolescents and young adults in South Africa are at increased risk of experiencing negative outcomes from early
sex initiation due to the context they develop in. This study aimed at investigating trends and gender differences in early age at
Methods: Data from the Cape Area Panel Study (CAPS) of young adults’ conducted between 2002 and 2009 in urban Cape
Town were used. Correlates of early sex using ecological risk factors were analysed.
Results: Overall mean age at sexual debut at follow-up was 17.5 years (standard deviation (SD) =2.5), with males at 16.8 years
(SD=2.5) and 18.1 years (SD=2.4) for females. Males consistently reported an earlier age at sex debut across the five waves of
the survey. Significant risk factors for early sex appeared at all levels of the ecology to include individual, household, and community
Conclusions: Integrated interventions for delaying early sex debut should consider factors within the ecology of the young
adults’ development context.
Sex debut; adolescents and young adults; contextual risk factors; cumulative risk.