SOURCES OF SEXUAL HEALTH INFORMATION AMONG ADOLESCENT FEMALES IN CANADA: TEN-YEAR TRENDS
ESC Congress Library. Black A. May 10, 2018; 208103; ESC99 Disclosure(s): CME activities and Advisory Board for Pfizer and Merck. research support from Mithra pharmaceuticals.
Prof. Dr. Amanda Black
Prof. Dr. Amanda Black
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Abstract
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OBJECTIVES:  Increasing Internet and social media use may have significant influence on how young women seek information on sexual health; thus media may significantly influence health behaviours.  Without a clear understanding of the current and preferred sources of sexual health information, public health efforts may be misdirected.  Our objectives: (1) Determine trends and current and preferred sources of sexual health information, contraception, and STIs in a national sample of adolescent women; (2) identify variables related to choice of information source; and (3) characterize Internet use for sexual health information by adolescent females.  METHODS: With IRB approval, a national cross-sectional survey was conducted in November 2006 and again in 2016.  A standardized, confidential, Internet-based questionnaire was distributed throughout the regions of Canada on the basis of the population distribution reported on the Canadian Census Profile.  Adolescent women aged 15-19 were included in the data analysis. Percentages of information sources for sexual health, contraception, and STI's were calculated by region, ever/never sexual activity, and number of partners. Chi-square tests were used to detect between group differences.  RESULTS:  1408 adolescents from the 2006 survey and 1371 from the 2016 survey were included in the analysis.  Significant changes were seen among the most common sources of sexual health information (Table 1).  More than half reported Internet use for information but only 20% found it trustworthy, compared to 54% who stated the family doctor was trustworthy. Topics that adolescents had 'ever asked' their health care professional about included contraception (46.6%), using contraception the HCP hadn't recommended (28.1%), sexual issues (36.6%), sexual orientation issues (12.2%), and spouse abouse/sexual violence (9.6%). Table 1. Sources of Sexual Health Information 2006 (n=1408) 2016 (n=1371) p-value Internet 47% 52.2% p=0.006 Family Doctor 51% 48.6% p=0.21 Friends 61% 44% p School 72% 41% p Parents 44% 36% p Social Media N/A 28.7% - CONCLUSION: The majority of Canadian adolescent females use the Internet as a source of health information.  They use many sites to access sexual health information and usually use a search engine.  However, adolescents do not consider the Internet a trustworthy source fo information and overwhelmingly identify health care providers as reliable and preferred sources of information. Despite a global increase in social media use, HCPs continue to play an important role in educating and advising young women.  The Internet may play an important complementary role in cases when it is accessible and a health care professional is not.
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