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J Urban Health. 2014 Jun;91(3):581-91. doi: 10.1007/s11524-013-9856-1.

Material deprivation affects high sexual risk behavior among young people in urban slums, South Africa.

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School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa,


Young people in urban slums adopt HIV risk behaviors influenced by their neighborhood factors. Three critical factors in urban slums of Southern and Eastern Africa--the region most affected by the HIV epidemic in the world--are unmet needs of housing, food, and health care, which are associated with HIV sexual risks. Yet, there has been limited attention on how the combination of unmet needs of housing, food, and health care--i.e., material deprivation-relates to sexual risk behavior among young people in urban slums. Cross-sectional data were extracted from the LoveLife survey in South African four provinces--KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, and Gauteng, to examine the association between material deprivation and sexual risk behavior among young people aged 18-23 years (263 males, 267 females) in urban slums. Adjusted logistic regression models showed that material deprivation was significantly associated with increased odds of high sexual risk taking for young men (adjusted OR = 1.20; 95 % CI = 1.10, 5.58) and young women (adjusted OR = 1.43; 95 % CI = 1.35, 3.28). Financial difficulty--a proxy for other deprivations--was the most salient influence on young women's high sexual risk taking (adjusted OR = 2.11; 95 % CI = 1.66, 2.70). Localized behavioral HIV prevention interventions should target young people in deprived households.

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