Thesis Open Access

Perceptions of Unprotected Sex and Contraceptives use among Ethiopian youth Female Migrants

Mulatu, Befirdu

Introduction: Although all stages of migration possess reproductive health (RH) risks such as unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, STIs including HIV/AIDS and the predisposing factors including unprotected sex and non use of contraceptives, no studies focused on these issues among youth female migrants. Many Ethiopian girls are moving to Arab States as house maids in search of better paying jobs. Most of them are noticed to be young, rural with primary or lower level of education and with no or low levels of contraceptives knowledge and use. The processing of their passport and VISA, which might take two to three months, are facilitated or mediated by the middle men - locally known as "delala" – to mean brokers. The delalas who facilitate where to stay for these young girls in Addis Ababa are entitled to have sex with them. Temporary separation from family increases their vulnerability to casual sex and sexual violence which, if unprotected, will expose them to unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV/AIDS. These in turn will deny their long-term ambition of getting better paying jobs overseas. Objective: To assess youth migrant"s perceptions about risks associated with unprotected sex and the use of contraceptives to reduce its consequences during migration process, 2012/2013. Method: Mixed-method was used, among Ethiopian youth female migrants to different Arab States, those selected by convenient and purposive. Data were collected from 18/03/2013 to 05/ 05/ 2013 at Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) using semi structured questionnaire from 258 females, and in-depth interview, having topic guides, from twelve respondents. The analysis for quantitative data was done by using SPSS version 17 and thematic analysis was done for the qualitative data. Result: The youth migrants have low knowledge (33.5%) about the meaning of unprotected sex and low levels of both the knowledge about the use of contraceptives (42.53%) and the practice (34.5%). In addition the use of contraceptives is hampered by shame, inaccessibility and mixed feelings among these youth migrants. Fear of unprotected sex is a common concern whereby middlemen 112 (55.2%) and sex for exchange for money 66(32.5%) are the most reported exposing factors. Attitude towards using contraceptives is favored by their perceived risk of unprotected sex 98(56.3%). Eighteen (24.0%) respondents reported having unprotected sex and ever using contraceptive methods was independently associated with it (P-value<0.001). Conclusion and recommendation: Getting awareness about unprotected sex are almost nonexistent, the levels of both knowledge (42.53%) and practice (34.5%) of contraceptives use are low that is further hampered by shame, inaccessibility and mixed feelings, putting Ethiopian female youth migrants at risk of the consequences of unprotected sex. Hence, they need more awareness on unprotected sex and its consequences, increasing their knowledge of contraceptives use for both unwanted pregnancy and STIs including HIV/AIDS.

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