Original Research

Exploring the socio-ecological levels for prevention of sexual risk behaviours of the youth in uMgungundlovu District Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal

Nelisiwe Khuzwayo, Myra Taylor
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 10, No 1 | a1590 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v10i1.1590 | © 2018 Nelisiwe Khuzwayo, Myra Taylor | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 July 2017 | Published: 07 March 2018

About the author(s)

Nelisiwe Khuzwayo, School of Nursing and Public Health Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Myra Taylor, School of Nursing and Public Health Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Background: Prevention of youth sexual risk behaviour among the youth in uMgungundlovu District Municipality continues to be a primary challenge for public health and health promotion. Current prevention interventions are targeted at an individual level, whilst youth behaviour is influenced by many social and environmental factors.
Aim: The aim of the study was to explore the factors influencing sexual risk behaviours of the youth at different socio-ecological levels in uMgungundlovu District Municipality.
Methods: An explorative and descriptive qualitative study design was used, using in-depth interviews and focus group discussions for data collection. A framework analysis was used to develop themes derived from the socio-ecological theory.
Results: Four themes were identified that influence youth to engage in sexual risk behaviours: (1) individual factors, related to role modelling behaviour, gender and negative stereotypes towards females; (2) the microsystem in which youth function including the influence of family and peers; (3) the exo-system comprising the disadvantaged socio-economic status of the communities where the youth live; and (4) the macrosystem where negative social norms were reported to influence youth health outcomes.
Conclusion: Sexual risk behaviour among youth in uMgungundlovu is influenced by many factors at multiple social levels. Interventions directed at these multiple levels are needed urgently.


Social; Risk behaviours; Youth; South Africa; Unsafe sex


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