Sexual and reproductive health behaviors amongst young people in Burundi

M. Merckling, L. Ntakarutimana, A. Labat

12th European congress on tropical medicine and international health, 28 sept- 1 oct 2021, Virtual from Bergen, Norway


Burundi has a very young population, with a median age of 17. This study aims to identify the behaviors of youths (10-24years) in the field of sexual and reproductive health.


A four-stage survey design, with 110 clusters, was conducted in 2019. 2085 youths were interviewed in 11 of the 18 provinces of Burundi.


Among 1902 respondents, 21.3% declared they already had a sexual intercourse (SI). First SI happens early with a median age of 17 (p25-p75: 12-18), especially for boys among whom 23.0% had their first SI before they were 10. In youngest respondents (10-14y), 42.0% of first SI happens with neighborhood members vs respectively 21.1% and 6.1% in 15-19 and 20-24y. Unexpectedly, first SI occurs earlier for individuals who are or have been to school: 34,8% had their first SI before 15 against only 12.5% for those who didn’t attend school. Use of contraceptive method is low among young people: 24.2% of respondents used a condom during last SI. This proportion grows to 38.3% including other contraception methods. Use of condom is more frequent by individuals who had first SI after 15 years of age (27.1%) than those who had first SI before (15.7%). Key reasons of not using a condom are pregnancy project (38.6%), non-planned SI (19.1%), non-return of menstrual periods after childbirth or breastfeeding (12.8%) and partner opposition for using condom (7.4%). Among girls who already had SI, 64.4% were or have been pregnant. This proportion increases to 96.8% for girls who don’t or didn’t attend school.


This survey reveals several behaviors in youth sexual health in Burundi. Early sexual education should be strengthened to enable informed choices and improve sexual knowledge about both biological and rights aspects among young people in Burundi.