Church and Clubs: Influence on Secondary Abstinence in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa 1999-2001

Lisanne Brown, Tulane University
Ali M. Karim, John Snow, Inc.
Paul Hutchinson, Tulane University
Kate MacIntyre, Tulane University
Bob Magnani, Tulane University

Abstinence from sex is one of the key behavioral strategies that youth can adopt to protect themselves from pregnancy and STDs, in particular HIV. While numerous studies have looked at abstinence in terms of delay in sexual initiation (either until marriage or until older), few studies have examined the dynamics of secondary abstinence, that is cessation (either temporary or permanent) of sexual activity among those who have initiated sex. Using panel data from KwaZulu-Natal South Africa, this paper examines trends in secondary abstinence among young adults, finding a statistically significant increase from 2.8 percent in 1999 to 9.1 percent in 2001. Two key factors that were positively associated with secondary abstinence were a person's level of religiosity and participation in social organizations such as sports, study and religious groups. For the latter group, the prevalence of secondary abstinence increased from 1 percent to 15 percent during the study period.

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