HIV/AIDS Stigma and Adolescent Sexual Behavior in Lesotho

Thandie Hlabana, Brown University

About 28.9% of adults aged 15-49 have been reported to be infected with HIV in Lesotho. This figure is estimated at 5.3% for 15-19 year olds, and triples to 19.5% for 20-24 year olds. Research on the impact of HIV/AIDS programmes has highlighted the role of stigma as a major inhibiting factor to curbing the epidemic. This paper will examine how stigma towards HIV/AIDS is related to adolescents’ sexual behaviour. Whether stigma is related to 1) whether or not someone has had sex? 2) whether or not someone who has had sex is using condoms? These questions will help understand the impact of the stigma around HIV/AIDS in curbing the epidemic among young people. Preliminary findings indicate that HIV/AIDS stigma is related to condom use, but not abstinence. Possible reasons for this behaviour are discussed in the paper.

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Presented in Poster Session 4