Introduction Youths are particularly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health problems, which are major challenges to their health and development. There is a need to estimate HIV prevalence and understand predictors among them towards implementation of appropriate and evidence-based national interventions.
Methods A 2007 nationally representative household survey was analysed. It involved 4633 youths aged between 15 and 24 years. HIV prevalence and behavioural indicators were assessed. Logistic regression was used to model predictors of HIV infection.
Results Mean age was 19.1±2.8 years; 50.9% male and 49.1% female. Youth HIV prevalence was 2.4% (national prevalence was 3.6%); young women HIV prevalence was 2.9% and male counterpart 1.9%. Sexual debut <15 years was10.4%; 7.8% exchanged sex for gifts; 28.3% had been away from home for >1 month; 18.4% had more than one sexual partner; 80.7% knew male condom protected against pregnancy; 75.6% knew male condom protected against HIV/AIDS. 81.9% had sexual intercourse in the last 12 months of which 45.8% used condom, and 10.5% were engaged in intergenerational sex with partners ≥10 years. Risks for HIV infection were away from home for >1 month AOR=2.1 95% CI 1.3 to 2.7; being a female AOR 3.4 95% CI 2.8 to 6.7; sex without condom AOR=2.1 95% CI 1.4 to 5.6 while having at least secondary education was protective with AOR: 0.7 95% CI 0.3 to 0.9.
Conclusion Youths accounted for 67% of HIV prevalence in Nigeria with young women disproportionately affected by HIV. Youths need appropriate and targeted behavioural interventions that involve partner reduction, consistent condom use and avoidance of intergenerational sex.
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