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Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

'Inexperienced'? Patterns in romantic and sexual experiences among urban poor early adolescents in Nairobi, Kenya

Title'Inexperienced'? Patterns in romantic and sexual experiences among urban poor early adolescents in Nairobi, Kenya
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsKagesten, AE, Kabiru, CW, Maina, B, German, D, Blum, RW
JournalCult Health Sex
Volume20
Pagination1299-1316
Date PublishedDec
ISBN Number1369-1058
Accession Number29558253
Keywordsearly adolescence, Kenya, Sexual behaviour, sexual health, young people
Abstract

The need for early prevention approaches to improve young people's sexual and reproductive health is gaining attention, yet little is known about the sexual experiences of early adolescents aged 10-14 years. Drawing on cross-sectional survey data collected from 365 early adolescents in a Nairobi slum, we used latent class analysis to identify subgroups based on self-reported awareness about sex and involvement in romantic and sexual activities. Multivariate regression models were fitted to examine the characteristics of each subgroup. Results revealed three subgroups: Involved (12%, high probability of being aware of sex and to have engaged in romantic/sexual activities); Observant (48%, high awareness but little own experience); and Naive (40%, little awareness or personal experience). Being in the Involved group was associated with older age, having commenced puberty/orphanhood, and living in the least poor households. Findings suggest that while most early adolescents in this setting have not initiated romantic and sexual activities, there are distinct subgroups of who would not be captured by looking only at the prevalence of sexual intercourse. Understanding the characteristics and needs of specific subgroups may help to strengthen efforts to improve young people's sexual and reproductive health in urban poor environments.