Gender Differentials in Premarital Sex, Condom Use, and Abortion: a Case Study of Yaoundé, Cameroon

Abstract: This paper uses focus group and survey data from the 1995 Yaoundé Family Formation Dynamics Study to examine gender differentials in premarital sexual behavior, condom use, abortion experience, and abortion intentions among single young men and women.

The results indicate that many Cameroonian adolescents, males in particular, engage in unsafe sexual practices, such as simultaneously having multiple casual and/or regular partners, and having sex in exchange for money or gifts. Many adolescents have used condoms, but condom use varies by type of partner. These high rates of sexual activities and low rates of condom use with regular partners lead to relatively high rates of unwanted pregnancies and abortion.  The fact that many abortions are performed by untrained persons indicates that many females have unsafe abortions.

This research on gender differentials in adolescent reproductive health behavior and the associated risks will facilitate the design and implementation of future program and demonstrates the need to continue, improve, and explained adolescent reproductive health programs in Cameroon.