Sexual Behavior and Attitudes Among Unmarried Urban Youths in Guinea

Regina Gorgen, Mohamed L. Yansane, Michael Marx and Dominique Millimounou
International Family Planning Perspectives
Vol. 24, No. 2 (Jun., 1998), pp. 65-71
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
DOI: 10.2307/2991927
Stable URL:
Page Count: 7
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Sexual Behavior and Attitudes Among Unmarried Urban Youths in Guinea


Context: In Guinea, modern contraceptive use is low, sexuality education is not part of the school curriculum and many young people are sexually active. Understanding what influences young people's sexual behavior and the consequences of that behavior may facilitate the design of effective pregnancy and disease prevention strategies. Methods: In 1995, 3,603 unmarried men and women aged 15-24 in three towns were surveyed, and 25 focus groups were conducted, to explore young people's sexual behavior and related attitudes. Results: The average age at first intercourse is 16.3 years for young women and 15.6 for young men. While the first sexual partner typically is a peer, the majority of young women later become involved with older, wealthy partners, whom they view as more attractive spouses than young men or as more likely to provide support if they become pregnant. Young males, who feel they cannot compete with older, wealthy men, have sex with much younger females. More than half of sexually active respondents have never used a contraceptive; 29% have used a condom. A quarter of the young women have been pregnant, and 22% of these have had an abortion. Conclusions: Young people are exposed to health hazards through their sexual behavior, and timely gender-specific sexuality education must be made available. School-based sexuality education could benefit even out-of-school youths, because their partners often are students.