Original Research

The Botsha Bophelo Adolescent Health Study: A profile of adolescents in Soweto, South Africa

Cari L. Miller, Busisiwe Nkala, Kalysha Closson, Jason Chia, Zishan Cui, Alexis Palmer, Robert Hogg, Angela Kaida, Glenda Gray, Janan Dietrich
Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine | Vol 18, No 1 | a731 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhivmed.v18i1.731 | © 2017 Cari L. Miller, Busisiwe Nkala, Kalysha Closson, Jason Chia, Zishan Cui, Alexis Palmer, Robert Hogg, Angela Kaida, Glenda Gray, Janan Dietrich | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 January 2017 | Published: 29 September 2017

About the author(s)

Cari L. Miller, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Busisiwe Nkala, Perinatal HIV Research Unit, Soweto, South Africa; Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Kalysha Closson, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Canada; The British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Vancouver, Canada
Jason Chia, The British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Vancouver, Canada
Zishan Cui, The British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Vancouver, Canada
Alexis Palmer, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Canada; The British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Vancouver, Canada
Robert Hogg, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Canada; The British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Vancouver, Canada
Angela Kaida, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Canada
Glenda Gray, Perinatal HIV Research Unit, Soweto, South Africa; South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa
Janan Dietrich, Perinatal HIV Research Unit, Soweto, South Africa; Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Youth between the ages of 15 years to 24 years account for almost half of new HIV infections in South Africa.

Objectives: To describe the study details of the Botsha Bophelo Adolescent Health Study (BBAHS) which was an investigation of HIV risk among adolescents living in Soweto, South Africa.

Methods: Eligibility criteria for the BBAHS included being 14 years – 19 years old and living in one of the 41 identified formal and informal areas in the township of Soweto. A cross-sectional survey was developed between investigators and an adolescent community advisory board consisting of previously validated scales and original questions including demographics, sexual and reproductive health, health service utilisation and psychosocial behaviours.

Results: Between 2010 and 2012, interviewers administered surveys among 830 adolescents (57% females), whose median age was 17 years (Q1, Q3: 16, 18), and found that 43% of participants identified their ethnicity as Zulu, 52% reported high food insecurity, 37% reported at least one parent had died, 15% reported living in a shack and 83% identified as heterosexual. Over half of the participants (55%) reported ever having sex (49% of females and 64% of males), 11% of whom initiated sex at < 15 years of age (3% females and 21% males). Almost half (47%) reported ever testing for HIV, 3% (n = 12) of whom self-reported being HIV-positive and 33% (n = 4) were on antiretroviral therapy.

Conclusion: Our study highlights important individual, relational and structural level determinants of HIV risk for adolescent men and women growing up within HIV hyperendemic settings.


Keywords

Adolescents; research methods; recruitment; HIV; sexual and reproductive health; South Africa; Youth

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