The Influence of Religion on Premarital Sex and Condom Use in a Generalized HIV/AIDS Epidemic

Sohail Agha, Tulane University

Very few studies have been specifically designed to address the effects of religion on adolescent sexual behavior. Studies have either tended to either focus on the determinants of first intercourse or on the determinants of contraceptive use. These studies have assumed that the choice of initiating sex and the choice of using a contraceptive at first sex are independent. However, at a time of heightened awareness of the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, the decision to use a condom is likely to be an integral part of the decision to become sexually active. In this study, we estimate the effect of religion on sexual initiation and condom use, based on the joint estimation of the likelihood of being sexually active and the use of a condom at first sex. We use data from a representative sample of 12,000 adolescents in Zambia.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Fertility Determinants, Family Planning, and Sexual Behavior