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Journal Article


Muldoon KA, King R, Zhang W, Birungi J, Nanfuka M, Tibengana S, Afolabi O, Moore DM. J. Interpers. Violence 2018; 33(11): 1731-1747.


University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


(Copyright © 2018, SAGE Publishing)






Sexual coercion, especially forced sexual debut, is associated with lifelong adverse health consequences. This is compounded in regions, such as Uganda, where the dual impact of HIV and violence critically shapes women's sexual health risks. Among a sample of women in HIV serodiscordant relationships, we investigated the prevalence and consequences of forced sexual debut. Data for this analysis come from the Highly Active Antiretroviral Treatment as Prevention (HAARP) Study, a cohort of HIV serodiscordant couples in Jinja, Eastern Uganda, and investigates the role of forced sexual debut on two outcomes: age of sexual debut and having more than three lifetime sexual partners. Bivariate and multivariate linear regressions were used to model age at sexual debut using β and adjusted (A) β and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions were used to model having more than three lifetime sexual partners and used odds ratios (ORs) and adjusted OR (AOR) and 95% CI. A total of 574 women were included in this analysis, median age 35 years, and 241 (41.99%) were living with HIV. A quarter (24.21%) of women experienced forced sexual debut at the median age of 16 years. Forced sexual debut was significantly associated with earlier age of sexual debut (β = -1.17, 95% CI: [-1.64, -0.68]). Forced sexual debut was significantly associated with having more than three sexual partners (AOR: 1.99, 95% CI: [1.33, 2.99]), in addition to older age (AOR: 1.02, 95% CI: [1.01, 1.05]). Speaking Lusoga, the primary language in Jinja (the study site) was associated with lower odds of having more than three sexual partners (AOR: 0.63, 95% CI: [0.43, 0.92]). Forced sexual debut was a common experience significantly associated with younger age of sexual debut and higher number of lifetime sexual partners. Safe and consensual first sexual experiences for young women play an important role in reducing HIV risk and lay the foundation for healthy and safe sexual health.

Language: en


adolescent victims; cultural contexts; domestic violence; domestic violence and cultural contexts; sexual assault


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