[health menu] XI International Conference on AIDS
July 7-12, 1996

Nzyuko. S., Nyamwaya D.
African Medical & Research Foundation
Nairobi, Kenya

Lurie P., Mandel J., Hearst N.
Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS)
University of California, San Francisco, U.S.A.


Adolescent High Risk Sexual Behavior Along the Trans-Africa Highway in Kenya


To identify the prevalence of adolescent high risk sexual behavior at truck stops along the Trans-Africa Highway and the characteristics of those who engage in these behaviors.


We conducted a cross-sectional study of 200 adolescents (104 girls and 96 boys) aged 15-19 years (mean 17 years for both girls and boys) at the Malaba, Mashinari, and Sachangwan truck stops in Kenya. The questionnaires were administered by trained interviewers, and included questions about demographics, HIV/AIDS knowledge and attitudes, and high risk sexual practices. Subjects were recruited consecutively with a participation rate of almost 100%.


Ninety percent of adolescents surveyed reported prior sexual encounters. Girls reported a median of 15 lifetime sexual partners, including sex with truck drivers, while boys reported a median of 12 lifetime sexual partners, including sex with sex workers in the truck stops. Fifty percent of girls reported at least one sexually transmitted disease (STD) (mean age 17.8 years, compared with 16.9 years for those without a history of STDs), while 30% of boys reported at least one STD (mean age 17.7 years, compared with 17.0 years for those without a history of STDs). Fifty-four percent of girls and 38% of boys reported having ever used a condom. Reasons offered for not using condoms included not liking condoms (29%), condoms not readily available (4.5%), condoms are too large (1.1%), and the condom could burst (0.5%). Sixty percent of the adolescents (76% of girls and 43% of boys) came from broken homes. Thirty-seven percent thought that only ill-appearing persons could transmit HIV, and 43% thought HIV could be transmitted by insect bites.


This study documents alarmingly high levels of risk behavior and STDs among adolescents at truck stops in Kenya, and suggests that HIV transmission from truck drivers and sex workers to the adolescents is likely. In the next phase of this project, a multifaceted intervention for these adolescents will be implemented and evaluated.

S. Nzyuko
African Medical & Research Foundation
PO Box 30125, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: 254-2-501301; Fax: 254-2-506112
Email: 62057276@eln.attmail.com

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Created: July 16, 1996
Last modified: July 17, 1996

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