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International News

Sexually Active Cameroon Youths Shun Condoms: Study

March 11, 2004

A study by the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) recently revealed that two-thirds of teenagers in Cameroon have sex by age 16 and more than half of them shun condoms. The figures shed new light on sexual behavior in a nation where HIV/AIDS adult infection rates have risen more than twenty-fold in slightly more than a decade.

Albert Mbanfu, assistant coordinator of the survey, blamed the situation on an "inappropriate environment", including a lack of sex education in families and schools, the negative influence of peers, the media, video clubs, and poor knowledge of modern contraceptives.

The HIV/AIDS infection rate among people ages 15-45 in Cameroon was 0.5 percent in 1989 compared to 11.8 percent by the end of 2001, according to UN figures. The two year-study of 5,000 youths ages 12-18 found 51 percent of sexually active adolescents had unprotected sex. Of those who used condoms, 63 percent said they did not always do so.

Sixty percent of girls surveyed had sexual intercourse by age 16. This resulted in unwanted pregnancies in one in five cases and abortion rates as high as 51 percent in some regions. One in three girls and two out of three boys said they had sex with more than one partner a year. Eleven percent said they had contracted at least one STD during the past 12 months.

Back to other news for March 11, 2004

Adapted from:
03.02.04; Tansa Musa

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
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More on HIV Prevention in Cameroon