LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2012 | Volume
: 33 | Issue : 2 | Page : 148--149
A study for sexual health awareness in adolescent population (13-18 years) attending dermatology OPD
Reshma P Gadkari, Gaurav Somani, Chitra S Nayak, Atul S Giri
Department of Skin and V.D., T.N.M.C. Medical College and B.Y.L. Nair Hospital, Mumbai, India
Chitra S Nayak
Department of Skin and V.D, T.N.M.C. Medical College and B.Y.L. Nair Charitable Hospital, Dr. A.L. Nair Road, Mumbai- 400008
|How to cite this article:|
Gadkari RP, Somani G, Nayak CS, Giri AS. A study for sexual health awareness in adolescent population (13-18 years) attending dermatology OPD.Indian J Sex Transm Dis 2012;33:148-149
|How to cite this URL:|
Gadkari RP, Somani G, Nayak CS, Giri AS. A study for sexual health awareness in adolescent population (13-18 years) attending dermatology OPD. Indian J Sex Transm Dis [serial online] 2012 [cited 2020 Jan 22 ];33:148-149
Available from: http://www.ijstd.org/text.asp?2012/33/2/148/102140
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines "adolescent" as an individual between 10 to 19 years of age. According to UNICEF, there are 243 million adolescents comprising 20% of the total population of India.  Twenty seven percent of adolescent mothers have reported an unmet need for contraception. Nearly 35% of HIV infections occur among the young people in the age group of 15-34 years.  Majority of adolescents still do not have access to information and education on sexuality, reproduction, and sexual and reproductive health and rights, nor do they have access to preventive and curative service.  Therefore, a cross-sectional study was conducted with the objective of assessing sexual health awareness (SHA) among the adolescent population in terms of age, sex, education, economic status, and family type.
The study was conducted over a month in the dermatology OPD of a tertiary care center following approval from the institutional ethics committee and followed the guidelines of Good Clinical Practice (GCP). One hundred literate adolescents between 13 to 18 years of age attending the dermatology OPD for non-venereal complaints were included in the study. After taking an informed consent and assuring confidentiality of the data provided, the study subjects were given a questionnaire to gauge level of SHA comprising of demographic profile, 40 true or false questions, 20 multiple choice questions, and 10 opinion-based questions. A scoring system was devised to grade the level of SHA among the participants as follows: Above 60%: Good, 35% - 60%: Moderate, and less than 35%: Poor level of awareness.
It was observed that the level of SHA was good, moderate, and poor in 1%, 49%, and 50% of the males, respectively, corresponding figures in female being 35%, 36%, and 61% indicating that awareness was marginally better in males. Awareness was better with increasing age, higher education, and nuclear family.
There was no correlation between economic status and level of SHA.
Forty two percent and 29% of the subjects below 15 years of age and 39% and 31% above 15 years of age believed in sharing sexual health-related problems with friends and doctors, respectively. Internet, pornographic movies, books, and Hindi movies were used as sources of information by 17%, 15%, 35%, and 23% of subjects below 15 years while the corresponding figures were 17%, 18%, 40%, and 24% in above 15 years age group, indicating that all sources of information were equally approached by both the age groups. Sixty-six percent of male and 44% female participants were aware of condoms, respectively. Eight percent males and 14% females knew the right gestational age limit for legal abortion while 25% males and 25% females were aware of tubectomy. Twenty percent males and 20% females were aware that the sex of child is determined by father's Y chromosome. Thirty-five percent males and 11% females knew that rape is a crime under section 375. Seventy percent males and 36% of females opined that condom was the preferred method of contraception while 8%, 2%, 14% males and 11%, 6%, 8% females thought I-pill, copper-T, oral contraceptive pills were ideal methods of contraception. Age of 13 to 21 years was considered as the most appropriate age for sex education by 80% males and 79% females.
We concluded that overall sexual health awareness was very poor among adolescents with poor knowledge about contraception.
STIs and HIV/AIDS prevention education programmes, seminars, and public talks should be conducted regularly. Parents and teachers should be included in these activities.  While designing and implementing these programmes, the health educators should take into account the multiple needs of these young people. A better holistic approach to sexual education that begins with better communication and understanding of sexual health and well-being would be optimal. 
|1||UNICEF State of World′s Children-2011 Adolescence: an age of opportunity, p 1. Available from: http://www.unicef.org/sowc2011/pdfs/India.pdf [Last accessed on May 2011] .|
|2||National Rural Health Mission. Implementation Guide On RCH-II Adolescent Reproductive Sexual Health Strategy. For State and District Health Managers, May 2006. Available from: http://www.mohfw.nic.in/NRHM/Documents/ARSH/Implementation_guide_on_RCH%20II.pdf [Last accessed on May 2011].|
|3||Kotecha PV, Patel S, Baxi RK, Mazumdar VS, Misra S, Modi E, et al. Reproductive health awareness among rural school going adolescents of Vadodara district. Indian J Sex Transm Dis 2009;30:94-9.|
|4||Anwar M, Sulaiman SAS, Ahmadi K, Khan TM. Awareness of school students on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and their sexual behaviour: a cross-sectional study conducted in Pulau Pinang, Malaysia. BMC Public Health 2010;10:47. |
|5||Cohall A, Kassotis J, Parks J, Vaughan R, Bannister H, Northridge M. Adolescents in the age of AIDS: myths, misconceptions, and misunderstandings regarding sexually transmitted diseases. J Natl Med Assoc 2001;93(2):64-9.|