The Human Research Council’s National HIV Prevalence, Incidence and Behavior Survey ranks South Africa first in HIV incidence in the world with 400,000 new infections in 2012 and found the HIV incidence rate among female youth aged 15 to 24 years to be 2.5% that year. The objective of this study was to compare the pattern and predictability of sexual activity between HIV-infected and HIV- uninfected young South African women. Sexually active young women between the ages of 16 and 21 years old completed a study survey between October 2012 and 2014 at two Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation centers. 100 young women with a mean age of 19.04 years responded to the survey. 51 women (51%) were HIV- infected and 49 were HIV-uninfected (49%). HIV-infected young women were found to be statistically less likely to have a temporal pattern to their sexual activity as compared to HIV-uninfected young women (56.9 vs. 95.9%, p<0.0001). While controlling for frequency of sex and lifetime sexual partners, HIV status remains a significant predictor of having a pattern of sexual activity (OR=16.13, p=0.0004) and a predictor of having sex on the weekend only (OR=4.41, p=0.0022). The ability to predict when sexual activity will occur enables a woman to prepare for its associated risks. HIV-uninfected young women are more likely to have a predictable pattern to their sexual activity as compared to HIV-infected young women. Knowledge of the sexual behavior patterns of this high-risk population will aid in the development of effective HIV prevention campaigns.
Key words: Sexual behavior, HIV, young women, South Africa.
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