Gender Difference in Youth Sexual Relationships in Botswana

Monday, 30 October 2017

Kefalotse Sylvia Dithole, PhD, MSc, BEd
School of Nursing, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana

Background: HIV in Botswana disproportionately affects women more than men. Research suggests that women’s vulnerability to HIV could be linked to poor negotiations skills towards issues of sexuality, for men it could be linked to substance abuse, affecting their sexual behavior. In Botswana, HIV prevalence is low among adolescents.

Aim and Objectives: The study aimed at examining gender difference among respondents in Living As Safer Teens (LAST) survey in Botswana. The objectives were to identify which gender is commonly engaged in sexually behavior and to describe commonly used substances that could have an effect on sexual behavior and that may predispose adolescents at risk of contacting HIV.

Design and Method: The study used a qualitative design that interviewed 13 – 18 school-going adolescents in Gaborone, Botswana. The respondents were individually audiotaped. Adolescents were recruited from schools. Ethical consideration was observed throughout the study.

Results: 40 participants took part in the study, 20 male and 20 female. The findings indicated that some children live alone without parental guidance. The results indicated that both genders prefer to communication with their mothers on sexual matters. In most instances both genders indicated that they discussed sexual issues with their friends because culturally sexual issues are not openly discussed with children. Although both genders rarely used condoms, in most cases males are usually the ones who make decision on whether or not to use a condom. Interestingly, both genders engage in multiple concurrent partners and generational relationships but females commonly engaged in these types of relationships.

Discussion and Limitations: There was no gender difference on perceptions of sexual behavior; and the findings are similar to other studies in Africa which studies in Africa (Achalu, 2011, Jewkes, 2010). Cultural influence relating to discussion of sexuality was common in both genders and mothers were preferred as good communicators.