Background Adolescent health has become a critical issue in the HIV intervention discourse as this particular cohort has an increased vulnerability to HIV infection, however migrant youth has an additional vulnerability due to their migrant status. African adolescents and migrant status are key population cohorts within South Africa identified as increased risk of HIV infection, sexual transmitted infection and reproductive health problems. Although increased focus into migration patterns in the South African context, not much research focused on the adolescent health of migrants. The impact of socio-cultural perspectives on condom use intentions and behaviour on migrant youth, which translate to the effect that social and cultural dynamics have on decision making processors of young people with regard to their sexual health choices and risk patterns of HIV and reproductive health.
Objective We examined migrant adolescent experiences of condom use in South Africa and identified socio-cultural factors influencing the condom use intentions and behaviours of migrant youth.
Method This qualitative study employed purposive and snowballing sampling techniques to explore with migrant youth regarding their intentions and behaviour towards condom use within their social cultural contexts. The sample included 20 African descent adolescents from Sub-Saharan African, notably from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Congo, Cameroon, Kenya and Malawi. The mean age was 23 years with a range between 20 years to 25 years.
Results Findings indicated that young migrants have a good understanding of the functions of condoms and the dual protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. However, the use of condoms, even freely available, is a contested issue as socio-cultural practices and influences have an impact on the intentions and behaviour towards condom use among young migrant adolescents.
The nexus between socio-cultural norms and safe sexual choices such as condom use places young migrants’ at-risk cohort with receiving countries, as they are currently outside of the realms of socio-cultural contexts, with higher education expectations and delay of marriage customs.
Conclusion There is a need for targeted and redesign of condom promotion programmes taking into account the current realities of transitioning young migrants who lives outside of the boundaries of current socio-cultural paradigms.
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