Sexual Health Knowledge and Practices of Teenage girls in an Irish Secondary School
ESC Congress Library. Mulvehill M. 05/10/18; 208208; ESC315
Dr. Maeve Mulvehill
Dr. Maeve Mulvehill
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Objective:  To clarify the age at which teenage girls become sexually active, whether they are adequately informed about sexually transmitted infections (STI's) and contraception and to establish the opinion of teenage girls regarding the provision of sexual health education.   Design and Methods:  The study was based on a questionnaire which was distributed to 142 teenage girls aged 16 to 19 years old in a secondary school in County Wicklow, Ireland.  The study was conducted in January 2017.  The data was analysed with simple descriptive statistics. Results:  42.9% of girls reported that they have had vaginal sexual intercourse.  27.4% first had vaginal sexual intercourse below the current legal age of 17.  11.9% first became sexually active aged 15 or younger.  24.5% would rather have had sexual intercourse later and 6.5% did not really want to have sexual intercourse.  19.6% reported that they drank alcohol prior to their first sexual intercourse.  88.5% used contraception at the time of first sexual intercourse and 81.9% used a method to prevent STI's at the time of first sexual intercourse.  32.7% have had more than 1 sexual partner.  46.4% are currently using contraception.  1.4% reported that they have been told by a health professional that they have an STI.  97.8% received sexual education on contraception and 73.2% received education on STI's.  55.6% found the sexual health education they received helpful.  95.7% received sexual education in school, 21.1% received this education from their parents and 14% received sex education from their GP.  91.5% felt that sexual health education should be provided in school, 49.2% felt that their GP should provide this information and 32.3% felt that parents should provide sexual health education.   This study revealed significant deficits in their understanding of fertility, contraception and STI's.  28.8% knew when a female is most fertile.  Only 3.5% correctly identified the correct time limit for emergency contraception.  11.9% had never heard of chlamydia.  55.6% knew that chlamydia can cause infertility.  81.6% correctly identified that there is no cure for AIDS.  73.2% knew that you can HIV for years without getting AIDS. Conclusion:  Teenage girls are becoming sexually active below the legal age and they are not adequately educated about contraception and STI's.  The study findings points to the need to provide sexual health education to teenagers at an earlier age by trained professionals.
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