April 18, 2024

Sexual Behavior Among Orphaned Adolescents in Western Kenya

Lonnie Embleton, M.P.H.; Joram Nyandat, M.B.Ch.B., M.P.H.; David Ayuku, Ph.D.; Edwin Sang, M.S.; Allan Kamanda, M.P.H.; Samuel Ayaya, M.B.Ch.B., M.Med; Winstone Nyandiko, M.B.Ch.B., M.Med, M.P.H.; Peter Gisore, M.B.Ch.B., M.Med; Rachel Vreeman, M.D., M.Sc.; Lukoye Atwoli, M.B.Ch.B., M.Med; Omar Galarraga, Ph.D.; Mary A. Ott, M.D.; Paula Braitstein, Ph.D.

This study sought to assess whether risky sexual behaviors and sexual exploitation of orphaned adolescents differed between family-based and institutional care environments in Uasin Gishu County, Kenya.

We analyzed baseline data from a cohort of orphaned adolescents aged 10e18 years living in 300 randomly selected households and 19 charitable children’s institutions. The primary outcomes were having ever had consensual sex, number of sex partners, transactional sex, and forced sex. Multivariate logistic regression compared these between participants in institutional care and family-based care while adjusting for age, sex, orphan status, importance of religion, caregiver support and supervision, school attendance, and alcohol and drug use.

This analysis included 1,365 participants aged 10 years: 712 (52%) living in institutional environments and 653 (48%) in family-based care. Participants in institutional care were significantly less likely to report engaging in transactional sex (adjusted odds ratio, .46; 95% confidence interval, .3e.72) or to have experienced forced sex (adjusted odds ratio, .57; 95% confidence interval, .38e.88) when controlling for age, sex, and orphan status. These associations remained when adjusting for additional variables.

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