Child Marriage and HIV/AIDS Risk Factors in Nigeria
Adenike Onagoruwa, Tulane University
Insufficient empirical evidence exists on associations between child marriage and HIV in most African countries. Married girls are more exposed than sexually active unmarried adolescents to regular and unprotected sex. Developing measures to mitigate the HIV risks that married girls face depends on factors such as levels of HIV/AIDS-related knowledge; levels of social stigmatization; and access to quality HTC services, among this population. Using data from a cross-sectional household survey conducted in Nigeria, this paper examines the association of HIV risk factors with child marriage, after controlling for individual and household factors. Preliminary analysis show that child marriage victims are more likely to have limited HIV/AIDS knowledge, exhibit more stigmatization and have limited access to HIV/AIDS services, thus limiting their ability to make informed sexual health decisions and protect themselves from infection. Targeted information interventions hold promise as an entry point in addressing the HIV prevention needs of this population.