Ethiopia is a developing country with a demographic profile dominated by young population with in the ages of 15-24, constituting one third of the total population. Only little has been explored about the role of parenting process and peers in protecting youths from risky sexual behaviors. Thus, this study tried to assess risky sexual behaviors, risk perception and the influences of family and peers for possible interventions among youths in western Ethiopia.
The study applied a comparative cross-sectional design triangulated with qualitative study. A pre-tested, structured, interviewer administered questionnaire was used to gather data. SPSS software version 20 was used to perform descriptive statistics, univariate, bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses.
Over one third of in-school and 41.4% out-of-school youths reported unprotected sex during the 12 months period prior to interview. More than one third of in-school youths (37.1%) reported to have two and more than two lifetime sexual partners compared to 32.6% of out-of-school youths. Out-of-school youths feel that they are at higher risk of getting HIV than in-school youths (AOR = 2.93; 95% CI: 1.45, 4.35). Youths who had high family connectedness were less likely to commence sexual activity and have multiple sexual partners than their counterparts (AOR = 1.98; 95% CI: 0.63, 0.94) and (AOR = 2.79; 95% CI: 1.24, 4.43) respectively. Having pressure from peer to have sex was significantly associated with having multiple sexual partners (AOR = 2.82; 95%CI: 1.62, 2.49).
A substantial proportion of out-of-school youths engaged in risky sexual behaviors than in-school youths. Parents and peers play a role in shaping the behavior of youths. Consequently, the dimension of good parental process and positive peer factors has to be strengthened.