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Reproductive and sexual health behaviour of school going adolescents in Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh, India

Author: 
Dr. Dinesh Kumar, Dr. R. J. Yadav and Arvind Pandey
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

Context: Adolescents and young youths are prone to suffer from reproductive and sexual health problems. Reproductive and sexual health needs of adolescents have so far been neglected. Objectives: 1) To investigate reproductive and sexual health behavior of adolescent attending schools. 2) To explore perceived reproductive and sexual health needs of Adolescent students. Methods: Cross-sectional survey among 247 adolescent students of four schools: two in Chandigarh and two in Himachal Pradesh selected by stratified multistage random sampling design. Information regarding socio-demographic characteristics and reproductive health issues was collected by interview method. Results: About 51% respondents reported that they were physically attracted to opposite sex and 30.8% were having intimate friends. There were 120 (48.6%) respondents who desired open and frank discussion regarding sex. Discussions regarding sexual issues like sex related, material sexual abuse, teenage pregnancy and contraceptives, pre-marital sex etc. were also found quite prevalent among respondents at all study centers and friends came out to be the main source of information about sex related issues. Overall contraceptive practice was reported to be only 1.6% against 57.5% awareness of contraceptives. Awareness regarding HIV/AIDS was found to be 90.7%. The main source of knowledge regarding STI was teachers followed by friends. There were 130(52.6%) respondents having sex related worries and 120(48.6%) wanted frank discussion on sex related issues. A large proportion of respondents 185(74.9%) felt need of sex education and 149(60.3%) desired sex education to be imparted as school curriculum mainly from doctors. Conclusions: Adolescents were found to be facing several reproductive and sexual health issues. Study concludes that reproductive and sexual health issues of adolescents need to be addressed properly their behavior is hazardous and there is felt need of sex education to be imparted at school levels by health staff. A holistic approach for creating awareness in a scientific manner which can cope with societal contexts should be adopted for improving their sexual and reproductive health.

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