The youth are engaging in unprotected sex because of the stigma and embarrassment associated with buying condoms, a research has revealed.
Religion was also used by young people aged between 15 and 35 as a reason for not using condoms. The study showed that the group had a strong desire to show love, trust and commitment to their partners but shunned protecting themselves from sexually transmitted infections.
The research was carried out by Dr Gwendolyn Morgan and is being exhibited at the urban health conference in Nairobi. It sampled unmarried people. The global health conference has drawn participants from over 40 countries to address challenges facing the urban population.
The research carried out by a local non-governmental organisation says that persons in steady relationships opt not to use condoms because their partners may suspect them of unfaithfulness.
However, older age and a higher level of education and good negotiation skills are among the reasons that prompted young men to consistently use protection.
Experience and a sexual debut at an earlier age than the average female youth also highly contributed to consistent condom use. The findings support another research done by I Choose Life – Africa, a behaviour change programme in institutions of higher learning on the impact of peer education in such institutions.
The study carried out at Maseno and Kenyatta University in 2007 indicated that 69.5 per cent say they could say “no” to sex without a condom and 76.3 per cent of the respondents agreed that using a condom “shows they care about themselves and their partner”.
Ms Michelle Hassan, an ICL project officer attributed the high incidence of unprotected sex to peer pressure especially amongst university students.
Curiosity and exploration also featured as one of the excuses the youth gave for risky sexual activity. “The most common reason for the sexually active students not using a condom was that they trusted their partner,” Ms Hassan added.