Like other developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa is faced with the following social welfare issues: teenage pregnancies, high HIV rates, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and a high number of abortions. South Africa is dealing with the repercussions of risky sexual behaviour of female youth on a daily basis and these include: youth with STDs, teenage pregnancies, HIV infection, cervical cancer, abortion, and youth selling their bodies for money. All of these can lead to serious health risks. There are psychological and behavioural factors associated with the risk of STDs like Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Gebregiorgis, 2000:15). Gebregiorgis reported that understanding sexual risk behaviours is one of the most important issues in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS. Doing so will result in the design and implementation of health education programmes with the view of preventing these infections, or at least minimising their occurrence (Damtie, 2013:1). Very limited research has been done on this topic in South Africa and Africa. A need for a similar study was recommended in Ethiopia, where it was stated that no published empirical studies were available on factors relating to sexual risk behaviours in rural districts such as the Enemay District, East Gojjam Zone of Ethiopia (Anemaw, 2009:5). Hence, this study will explore and describe factors that may influence female youths to engage in unsafe sexual behaviours.
The focus of the study was on the risky sexual behaviour of female youth in rural and urban areas. The goal of the study was to explore and describe the nature and consequences of risky sexual behaviour of female youth in rural and urban areas. The research question of this study was: do female youth in urban and rural areas have insight regarding the nature and consequences of their risky sexual behaviour?
A qualitative approach was followed with a case study research design, as the researcher wanted to compare cases in urban and rural areas. The population was school-going females aged between 18 and 20 years in Gauteng province. There were two targeted groups of population. The first one was in Kameeldrift Village, Hammanskraal in Tshwane Municipality, Gauteng province, classified as a rural area. The second population was in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni Municipality, Gauteng province, classified as an urban area. In this study non-probability, purposive sampling was used to generate a sample. The criteria for sampling participants were as follows:
? Female youth between the ages of 18 and 20 years old.
? Female youth who are sexually active, as they request contraceptives at the clinic.
? Female youth who are from Ivory Park in Tembisa and Kameeldrift Village in Hammanskraal, both in Gauteng.
Twelve participants, namely six female youth from a rural area and six from an urban area, who were at the above-mentioned clinics to access family planning within the above-mentioned age groups were chosen for the study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants individually. Interviews were voice recorded with the permission of the participants and were transcribed by the researcher. The data was analysed by the researcher and themes and sub-themes were generated. The research findings were presented by providing a profile of the research participants and presenting a thematic analysis of the themes and sub-themes, including literature and verbatim quotes from the transcriptions to support the findings. The themes included the following: Theme 1 Knowledge of female youth regarding reproductive health; Theme 2 Knowledge of preventative measures and prevention of pregnancy; Theme 3 Sexual risk behaviour and exploration of multiple sexual partners or concurrent partners; Theme 4 Consequences of risky sexual behaviour; and Theme 5 Attitudes experienced as a result of consequences of risky sexual behaviour. The conclusions of this study reflect that that a limited understanding of reproductive health is a contributing factor to the sexual risk behaviour displayed by female youths in both rural and urban areas. It was further concluded that fear of dealing with the consequences of risky sexual behaviour does not prevent female youth from early sexual debut. Another conclusion is that early sexual debut is the biggest factor to risky sexual behaviour, as the majority of participants started engaging in sexual activities very early in life while they were not mature enough to negotiate safer sex practices.
Recommendations of this study can be used by professionals working with female youth in the health field in order to understand the dynamics involved, such as the biological, psychological, and social influences that result in the sexual behaviour of female youth. These will address the complex issues related to environmental influences that shape risky sexual behaviour of female youth.
Mini Dissertation (MSW)--University of Pretoria, 2016.