Alcohol Availability, Marketing and Sexual Health Risk Amongst Urban and Rural Youth in South Africa

Lebohang Letsela, Renay Weiner, Mitzy Gafos, Katherine Fritz AIDS and Behaviour, 2018; Read the full paper online

South Africa has high rates of HIV prevalence and incidence and very high binge drinking rates amongst youth. This study used GIS mapping of alcohol outlets and participatory research methods to explore and understand youth’s perception of alcohol availability and marketing and their associated risks for HIV and sexual violence. Twenty seven young people from 18–24 years from an urban and rural area participated in the study. 

Key findings

  • There was high density of alcohol outlets at both sites with 97% within 500 m radius to a school; 76% of outlets had alcohol advertising signage on the exterior.
  • Youth reported that alcohol is easily accessible to them.
  • Alcohol advertising and marketing are appealing and entice young people to consume alcohol, including binge drinking.
  • Young women reported exposure to unsafe and transactional sex, and sexual violence at alcohol outlets.

The results underline the importance of developing and implementing strategies at policy and community levels that tackle the broader context and structural factors to protect youth.

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