Prevalence rates of sexual coercion victimization and perpetration among Uganda adolescents

Michele L. Ybarra, Sheana S. Bull, Julius Kiwanuka, David R. Bangsberg, Josephine Korchmaros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Coercion is consistently reported as a risk factor for HIV in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Because of the gendered nature of previous research, however, little is known about male victims or female perpetrators. To address this gap, we report survey data from 354 sexually experienced secondary school students in Mbarara, Uganda. Findings suggest that females are more likely to report involvement in coercive sex compared to males (66% vs. 56%, respectively). Of those involved, females are most likely to report being a victim-only (40%) and males, perpetrator-victims (32%). Although involvement in violent and coercive sex is gendered, 47% of males report victim experiences and 25% of females report perpetration behavior. Furthermore, about one in ten female and male perpetrators reported using physical force or threats to compel sex. When all potentially influential factors were considered simultaneously, several characteristics seem to differentiate youth by their coercive sex (in) experience. For example, victims are more likely to have lower levels of social support from their families and feel that they have an above average or very strong chance of getting HIV compared to otherwise similar youth with no experience with coercive sex. Perpetrators are more likely to have had an HIV test but use condoms less than half the time or never compared to their otherwise similar, yet uninvolved peers. They also are significantly more likely to report dating violence perpetration. Perpetrator-victims share some similarities with other involved youth, as well as some differences. Findings underscore both the importance of asking all youth, irrespective of biological sex, perpetrator and victimization questions; and also the need for more work to be done to help youth plan for a healthy and wanted first sexual experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1392-1400
Number of pages9
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012


  • Uganda
  • adolescents
  • coercive sex
  • developing country

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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