Mkhize, Olofinbiyi and authors Dr Siyanda Dlamini, Dr Witness Maluleke and Mrs Olunike Blessing Olofinbiyi worked collaboratively. Dr Olofinbiyi designed the study and led data collection, analysis and writing of the manuscript while Mkhize critically reviewed it before submission for publication.
The study examined the social dimension of risk behaviours among adolescent prostitutes in Lagos metropolis, Nigeria. More specifically, it examined the relationship between educational attainment and drug use among female adolescent sex workers; investigated the relationship between drug use and criminal behaviour; examined the impact of drug use on the nature of the sex they engage in; and analysed the relationship between educational attainment and consistent use of male condoms by female adolescent sex workers.
It found that 90.7% of the respondents joined the sex industry due to poverty and hunger, while 98.6% were aware of the diseases that can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. All the respondents had knowledge of HIV and AIDS and 91.7% identified sexual intercourse as a major route of HIV transmission.
‘There was a significant relationship between the use of drugs and the nature of sex of female sex workers … 99.7% of the respondents used male condoms regularly in every sexual act, 5.5% of the respondents used female condoms at irregular intervals in every sexual act, while 84.8% compromised the use of condoms with financial rewards,’ said Dr Olofinbiyi. ‘Consequently, a high percentage of the population was assumed to be at risk of HIV/AIDS, while 7.2% of the sample had become pregnant while on the job and 3.1% of these pregnancies were terminated through induced abortion.’
Furthermore, 44.1% of the drug-addicted, low-income sex workers were found to be involved in criminal activities and 60.3% were victims of different types of violent sexual experiences. The study concluded that socio-economic constraints are the primary factors that push adolescent girls into prostitution in Nigeria and that the same factors hinder them from practicing safe sex within the sex industry.
‘The Nigerian government should develop programmes that will reduce poverty … and unemployment … in order to reduce adolescent/adult prostitution with its attendant problems of HIV transmission and criminal activities in the country,’ said Mkhize.