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Objectives: To identify determinants of sexual behaviors among Ethiopian secondary school adolescents using Jessor's theoretical framework.
Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used to examine determinants of sexual behaviors among 537 high school students aged 14-20. HIV risk and protective factors were identified based on a review of the literature. Focus group discussions and informal interviews were carried out to validate theoretical constructs and, together with the literature review, to guide questionnaire construction. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine associations between each risk and protective factor and each sexual behavior.
Results: Most students (64 percent male and 89 percent female) were not sexually active. Only 56 percent of the sexually active youths reported ever using condoms. Family involvement, age of boy/girlfriend, expectations for aca-demic achievement, and substance abuse were associated with at least three of the six sexual behaviors or intentions examined. Risk and protective factors in the personality, perceived environment, and behavior domains were associated with at least one sexual behavior or intention.
Conclusion: The findings are consistent with Jessor's theoretical framework and suggest that risk and protective factors from several domains contribute to Ethiopian adolescents' involvement in sexual behavior.
Recommendation: The findings of this study may be used to design culturally sensitive school-based HIV/AIDS prevention programs in Ethiopia. Recommendations are made on how to design school-based HIV prevention programs and to carry out further research on gender differences in sexual behavior and HIV risk factors among students and out-of-school adolescents.