Assessing reasons for school/college dropout among young adults and implications for awareness about STDs and HIV/AIDS: findings from a population-based study in Karachi, Pakistan.

Document Type



Community Health Sciences


Background: Dropping out of school/college not only impedes economic prosperity but may also result in poor knowledge and awareness about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Purpose: This study investigated, among young adults in Karachi, Pakistan, the risk factors associated with involuntary school/college dropout and the implications for awareness about HIV/AIDS and STDs. Method: A population-based, cross-sectional study of 1,650 young males and females, aged 17-21years and living in Karachi, was conducted using a structured questionnaire. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed separately for males and females. Results: Females were twice as likely to drop out of school/college as males. Furthermore, migrant residential status, living in an extended family and lower socio-economic status were identified as risk factors for school/college dropout both for males and females. In the total sample, only 17% of males and 13% of females had heard of STDs (p=0.020). Furthermore, 26.8% of males and 20.5% of females had not heard of HIV/AIDS (p=0.003). The females exhibited a higher level of awareness on these matters than the males, irrespective of whether they had dropped out of school or not. While the males who dropped out were considerably less aware than those who remained at school, there was no such difference among females. Conclusion: Young adults from poor families are at increased risk of dropping out of school/college. Among the dropouts, males were clearly at risk of ignorance about STDs while females were somewhat better informed.

Publication (Name of Journal)

International Journal of Behavioral Medicine