2014 | Ghana
Self-perceived health and attitudes toward sex and HIV prevention among Ghanaian youth
Background: Evidence suggests that self-perceived health and attitudes toward sex are associated with actual health behaviors. Better health perception decreases negative health behaviors. Riskier attitudes toward sex predict unsafe sexual behaviors. We examined the relationship between youth’s health perception and their attitudes toward sex and HIV prevention. Method: A total of 6,252 youth from the Ghana YouthSave baseline data were included in this study. Attitudes toward sex and HIV prevention were measured using a multidimensional attitude scale based on health belief model. Self-perceived health was defined as (a) current health status and (b) expectation of future health. We used multilevel modeling to examine the association between health perception and attitudes toward sex and HIV. Results: Most youth (>90%) reported better current health status and expect their future health to be better than their peers. Better self-perceived health predicted less risky attitudes toward sex and more positive attitudes toward HIV prevention. Youth who expect better future health were more likely to have positive attitudes about the benefits of condom use, condom use efficacy, and social support for condom use. Youth with negative self-perceived health were more likely to have riskier beliefs about sex. Youth who expect better future health were less likely to have riskier beliefs about sex. Discussion: Findings suggest that self-perceived health status predicts attitudes toward sex and HIV. This association may explain how health perception influences actual behaviors. Improving health perception may reduce sexual risk behaviors among youth by shaping their beliefs about sex and HIV.
Masa, R., & Chowa, G. (2014, November). Self-perceived health and attitudes toward sex and HIV prevention among Ghanaian youth. Paper presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association, New Orleans, LA, November 15-19.