A study carried out in the Department of Evolutionary and Education Psychology of the University of Granada (UGR) has revealed that Latin American immigrant adolescents are more likely to become infected with HIV than the Spanish, as they use methods of birth control less frequently, start having sex earlier and have more sex partners than Spanish adolescents. In addition, foreigners consume drugs more frequently when having sex with penetration, according to this work.

For the performance of this research work, professors Mª Paz Bermúdez Sánchez and Ángel Castro Vázquez used a sample of 218 adolescents aged between 14 and 19 years, half of them Spanish and half of them Latin Americans. For the first time in Spain, the authors prepared a questionnaire ‘ad hoc’ to manage to get information about the socio-demographic variables of the adolescents and their risk sexual behavior.

Latin Americans start earlier

The study, followed up in the UGR, has produced many interesting differences and conclusions about the sexual practices of the two groups analyzed. Latin American adolescents have their first sexual relationship earlier than the Spanish (the average age is 15), and they have more relationships with casual sex partners. In addition, 78.8% of the Spanish use contraceptive methods always or nearly always, whereas only 58% of the immigrants do so.

Seven of every ten Spanish adolescents use condoms ‘almost always’ when having sex with vaginal penetration, whereas only two of every 10 Latin Americans do the same. Immigrants have more anal sex and use condoms less frequently when doing it than the Spanish.

Mª Paz Bermúdez Sánchez and Ángel Castro Vazquez’s research work emphasizes that 5.7% of the Latin Americans have suffered from a sexual transmission infection in the last 6 months, nearly four times more than the Spanish (1.6%).

In the light of the results of this pioneer work, the professors of the University of Granada intend to carry out a similar research work with a wider sample, analysing the sexual behaviour of immigrant adolescents according to their native land. In order to do that, they have asked for the collaboration of NGOs, health centres, associations, institutes… to keep on gathering data about adolescents from Latin American countries.

Tomorrow, 1st December, is the World AIDS Day. According to the figures provided by the Spanish Ministry of Health and Consumption, 1 of every 5 new cases of AIDS and 1 of every 3 new diagnosed infections with HIV in Spain are suffered by immigrants.