Sexual risk behaviour, alcohol use, and social media use among secondary school students in informal settlements in South Africa

Kaufman, KA; Braunschweig, EN; Feeney, J; Dringus, S; Weiss, H; Delany-Moretlwe, S; Ross, DA AIDS and Behaviour, 2014; Vol 18 (9) 1661-1674

Using baseline cross-sectional survey results from secondary school students aged 12 to 20 years in informal settlements, this study:

  • presents descriptive findings on reported sexual risk behavior and hazardous alcohol use (HAU)
  • assesses differences in these outcomes by sex
  • assesses associations between self-reported social media use and reported risk behaviours

4,485 students at 46 secondary schools in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth completed mobile-phone-assisted, self-administered baseline questionnaires. This took place during the 2-year cluster-randomized trial of Grassroots Soccer. 


  • 312 females (12.5%) and 468 males (23.5%) screened positive for HAU.
  • 730 males (39.9%) and 268 females (11.8%) reported having had two or more partners in the last year.
  • Among females, having a Facebook account was associated with reported multiple partnerships and age-disparate sex in the last year as well as HAU.
  • Using Mxit - a popular mobile instant messaging application - was associated with higher odds of reported multiple partnerships in the last year among both males and females and with HAU among both males and females

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