Sexual health experiences of adolescents in three Ghanaian towns

Type Journal Article - International Family Planning Perspectives
Title Sexual health experiences of adolescents in three Ghanaian towns
Volume 29
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2003
Page numbers 32-40
CONTEXT: Ghanaian youth are greatly affected by widespread social change, and their reproductive health needs may differ by social group, age and gender.
METHODS: In-person interviews on sexual health issues were conducted with 704 never-married youth aged 12-24 in three Ghanaian towns. The sample included youth who were in school, in apprenticeship programs or in neither school nor apprenticeship programs (unaffiliated).
RESULTS: More than half of the respondents had ever had sexual intercourse (52%), with the adjusted odds for females being 1.6 times those for males and the odds for unaffiliated and apprenticed youth being 2.5-3.2 times those for in-school youth. The odds of having had sex in the previous month were elevated for females (2.0) and apprentices (2.7). Both sexes tended to accept violence towards women, with unaffiliated youth showing the highest level of acceptance and in-school youth the lowest. Nearly all respondents (99%) knew of condoms, but fewer than half (48%) could identify any of four elements of correct use; females and sexually inexperienced youth were the least informed. Two-thirds of respondents considered it unacceptable for males to carry condoms, and three-quarters considered it unacceptable for females. Twenty-five percent of males and 8% of females reported having had a sexually transmitted infection. One-third of sexually experienced females reported having ever been pregnant; of those, 70% reported having had or having attempted to have an abortion.
CONCLUSIONS: Adolescent reproductive health programs should be targeted to the needs of specific groups.

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