Factors Perceived to Influence Risky Sexual behaviours among Teenagers.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that are spread from person to person through sexual contact. There are more than 30 different sexually transmissible bacteria, viruses and parasites (world health organisation, 2012). Worldwide, nearly one million curable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occur each day, half of them in Asia, where they are common. STIs are among the most Causes of serious preventable conditions such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, Cancer and congenital infections. While there has been a lot of studies done on the prevention of STIs, not a lot has been done on why people engage in high-risk behaviours’ that cause STIs.  This Article examines environmental and Social factors cultural factors that influence the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections. (world health organisation, 2012)

Environmental and sociological factors,

Environmental factors are conditions that affect the behaviour and the development of somebody or something, it can also be described as the conditions that somebody or someone exists in (Oxford advanced learners dictionary, 2011).  (Mosses,2006), of the University of Addis Ababa, theorised that economic factors play a big part in the prevalence of sexually transmitted infection. They found that poor education and bad policy making increased the likelihood of sexually transmitted diseases.

For example, In Nigeria, the relocation of people without the provision of adequate accommodation forces people to leave in crowded slums thereby increasing the possibility of people engaging in high-risk behaviours like drug use and prostitution (Moses, 2006). This theory is also supported by (Gross,2006) who also theorised that the factors that determine the prevalence transmitted infections can both be political and economic and that these two are closely related. For example, the way young women are able to protect themselves against infection is a reflection on their economic and political status. (Gross, 2011)

Incarceration and Sexually Transmitted Infections: A Neighbourhood Perspective.

The effect of incarceration is evident in part because of the high rates of sexually transmitted infection. A study done in North Carolina in the united states both in urban and rural communities discovered that the rise in people spent in prison from 2.0% to 2.5% corresponded to 7.1% increase in the rate of gonorrhoea per 100,000 people. The people interviewed spoke of their change in sexual partners, this was partly to do with them finding help in making financial ends meet, men having sex with men in prison and them having multiple sex partners upon re-entry into the community. The figures associated with incarceration and change of sexual partners or relationships provide an unintended consequence of incarcerations. (James C. Thomas, 2007)

Another hypothesised chain of events is that there is a negative effect on neighbourhoods’ social characteristics when there is an increase in the rate of incarceration which facilitates the rate of transmission of sexually transmitted infection. (Andrea Swartzendruber, 2012)


To minimise the prevalence of sexually transmitted infection in schools we have to first understand the high risk social and sexual behaviours among young people. The survey in Addis Ababa Ethiopia discovered that a considerable amount of teenagers had practised oral and anal sex schools; multiple sexual partners were common while consistent condom use was low. These high-risk behaviours in schools may be because sex education has in recent years been left to peer groups and teachers alone, parents and guardians do not take an active role in it  (Ralph J. DiClemente & Kathy Harrington, 2001). That is why the government and youth based organisation need focus their education on better decision making when it comes to issues of sex rather than the emphasis on practising safe sex. (Amsale Cherie, 2012)

Social factors

Social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, leave, work and age (world health organisation, 2008). Examples of social determinants are religion, ethnicity, economy and education.

Social, economic status  

The complicated relationship between sexually transmitted infections and behaviours depends upon the social contextual differences. For example, a study in Tanzania showed a marked increase in high-risk behaviours due to the privatisation of one of the sugar plantation. The study done over the three years discovered that after the privatisation of the Tanzania sugar plantation people lost their jobs which lead to an increase in poverty rates. Poverty makes people move in search for a better life, and the result of this is that it causes overcrowding which predisposes people to high-risk behaviours like prostitution and drugs which have been shown to increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections. (Norris, 2006)

Neighbourhood drug markets,         

Drug markets pose a high risk social and environmental factor for sexually transmitted diseases. A recent study done by the journals of social science and medicine in 2012 hypothesized that neighbourhood drug markets as opposed to those without having a higher concentration of infected sex partners and that in these areas there is an increased environment for sexually transmitted infections. The study also claims that neighbourhoods with high drug markets may play an important role in setting up high-risk environments ad high-risk sex partnership and bacterial sexually transmitted infections (Jacky M. Jenningsa, 2012). A study in Canada discovered that there is a reduction in the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection in people with a stronger social supports, this was especially evident in women. (Yanhui Gao & Yue Chen, 2010)

Cultural Factors

Culture encompasses a set of beliefs, customs, moral values and traditions that shape the way people think (Oxford advanced learners dictionary, 2011). Culture has several sides to it there is the culture one is born into and the culture a person gets to a part of, For example, becoming a lawyer or a doctor. In most cases people’s attitudes towards health is based on the culture and traditions they are a part of, For example, 100 years ago sex before marriage was considered wrong and that affected the rates of sexually transmitted disease (Catholic church, 2012), compared to the highly sexualised 21st century society where the children are sexualised as early as 16 years old. That is why in order for us understand Peoples attitude toward health we first need to understand the culture. For example, low suicide rates among the African American population have been attributed to their cultural and religious beliefs. (Rheeda L. Walker, 2006)

Most of the peer-reviewed articles focus a lot on the impact and the prevention of sexually transmitted infection. This review shows that a number of factors impact the behaviours of people toward sexually transmitted infections, the review shows that neighbourhoods social and economic settings play a big part which influences the way people think, so based on these finding more studies need to be done on the sociological, Environmental and cultural issues that affect people’s behaviours in order for us to minimise the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections.


Amsale Cherie, Y. B. (2012). Oral and anal sex practices among high school youth in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. BMC public health.

Andrea Swartzendruber, M. P. H., , Jennifer L. Brown, Ph.D., Jessica M. Sales, Ph.D., Colleen C. Murray, Dr.P.H., Ralph J. DiClemente, Ph.D.,. (2012). Sexually Transmitted Infections, Sexual Risk Behavior, and Intimate Partner Violence Among African American Adolescent Females With a Male Sex Partner Recently Released from Incarceration

Catholic church. (2012). catechism of the Catholic church

4  Retrieved 28/10/2012, 2012, from http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm#2352

dictionary, O. a. l. (2011). Culture from http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/dictionary/cultural

dictionary, o. a. l. (2011). environmental, from http://oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/dictionary/environmental

Gross, G. T., Stephen K,. (2011). Sexually Transmitted Infections and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (pp. 892).

Jacky M. Jenningsa, b., , , Ralph B. Taylorc, Rama A. Salhia, 1, C. Debra M. Furr-Holdend, Jonathan M. Ellena, b. (2012). Neighborhood drug markets: A risk environment for bacterial sexually transmitted infections among urban youth. Social Science & Medicine.

James C. Thomas, 4 Brooke A. Levandowski,1 Malika Roman Isler,2 Elizabeth Torrone,1 and George Wilson. (2007). Incarceration and Sexually Transmitted Infections: A Neighborhood Perspective. Journal of  Urban Health.

Moses, A. J. (2006). forcusing on the enviromental aspect of HIV/AIDS in abuja- Nigeria  African health science

Norris, A. H. (2006). Sex and society: Determinants of prevalent HIV, syphilis and HSV-2 among Tanzanian sugar plantation residents.

Ralph J. DiClemente, P., Gina M. Wingood, ScD, MPH, Richard Crosby, PhD, Brenda K. Cobb, PhD, RN,, & Kathy Harrington, M., MAEd, and Susan L. Davies, PhD, MPH,. (2001). Parent-adolescent communication and sexual risk behaviors among African American adolescent females The Journal of Pediatrics.

Rheeda L. Walker, S. O. U., Mark A. Bolden & Otis Williams III, . (2006). Do Sociocultural Factors Predict Suicidality Among Persons of African Descent Living in the U.S.? . .

world health organisation. (2008). Social determinants of health, from http://www.who.int/social_determinants/en/

world health organisation. (2012). sexually transmitted infection, from http://www.who.int/en/

Yanhui Gao & Yue Chen. (2010). Social support associated with a reduced risk of sexually

transmitted infection in Canadians. Journal of  Public Health.



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