HIV/AIDS and risky sexual behaviour of adolescents
Department of Sociology Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic Brno, Czech Republic
The number of new HIV positive cases in the Czech Republic has been recognised as increasing rapidly every year. There were 147 new diagnoses of HIV positive people in the year 2008. Adolescents are one of the most vulnerable groups because they are at the beginning of their sexual lives.
The key research question of my PhD project "HIV and risky sexual behaviour of Czech adolescents" is: How has the sexual behaviour of Czech adolescents been changing in the light of the progressing HIV epidemic? The secondary research question is: Why do adolescents behave mostly unsafely in their sexual lives?
The research Youth and AIDS that was mapping risky sexual behaviour of adolescents towards HIV/AIDS was realized in the years 1997, 2004 and 2008 in the second largest city in the Czech Republic - Brno. Its aim was to interview adolescents in order to gain their HIV knowledge, attitude to AIDS and safe sexual behaviour. The research method was quantitative and the data were obtained through a survey at high schools in Brno. Owing to this research I gained unique data sets (time series) which enabled me to compare trends over the time. I also wanted to learn if adolescents behaved in accord with their knowledge or not.
The results show that the adolescents have a good knowledge of how to behave safely and in most cases show attitudes implying safe sexual behaviour. Nevertheless, they do not behave safely. Approximately 75 % of sexually active adolescents use some form of contraception. However, only 50 % of adolescents use condom in their sexual lives - not because of the fear of getting infected with HIV, but because of the fear of unwanted pregnancy.
Czech adolescents have not changed their sexual behaviour and HIV/AIDS has not been a motive for them to change it.
Except more detailed outcomes I would like to focus on the situation in the light of European comparison in my paper: is it possible to find convergence or divergence with other European countries on the field of HIV and sexual behaviour of young people?