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Indian J Matern Child Health. 1992 Oct-Dec;3(4):108-10.

Sexual behaviour and substance use patterns amongst adolescent truck cleaners and risk of HIV / AIDS.



This study was conducted at transport nagar in Indore, a major industrial and commercial center of Madhya Pradesh. Usually each truck has a staff of 3, comprising 1 senior driver, 1 junior driver, and a cleaner, usually a child or an adolescent. 210 such adolescent truck cleaners were surveyed by random sampling of the parked trucks present in the transport nagar. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered to these adolescents using the oral interview technique. The age distribution of the adolescents indicated that 17 were 15-16 years old, 63 were 16-17, 61 were 17-18, and 69 were 18-19. When the income was low, the owners or the senior drivers provided the meals and minor expenses. 80% of the adolescents were illiterate, 10.5% were literate, 6.2% had primary education, and 3.3% had middle school education. 88.1% of the cleaners were away from home for 24-28 days a month, 7.1% for less than 24 days, and 4.8% for over 28 days. 25.2% of the cleaners had a history of sexual activity, commonly with prostitutes. 88.6% of the senior drivers regularly visited prostitutes, and in many cases the adolescents' payment to the prostitute was financed by the senior driver. 94.3% of these adolescents had engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse, and the remaining 5.7% had used condoms infrequently. 98.5% of them had not heard of HIV and AIDS. 4.3% had a history of sexually transmitted diseases and had been treated by general practitioners. Substance abuse was fairly common among these young people (140 smoked, 9 chewed tobacco, 2 used opium, and 2 used alcohol more than twice per week), and the cost for those substances was primarily met by the senior truck driver or the owner. The trend was similar for sexual activity, as 25.2% had engaged in sex (12.9% once, 7.1% twice, and 5.2% several times). Special programs are required for these adolescents to educate them about the risks of unprotected sex and drugs in order to prevent them from contracting HIV/AIDS.

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