Posts Tagged ‘health’

Young girls on contraceptives

It is quite disturbing that early sexual debut and premarital sex are increasingly common features of the female adolescent in Kenya. The number of girls aged under 15 who are on contraceptives is high. Not only that, but also that unprotected sex is still common despite statistics having it that the level of knowledge concerning the value of using protective devices being high.

We may want to urge that girls are at risk of unwanted pregnancy what about infection of STI and HIV/AIDS as well as gynecological complications that result from prolonged use, misuse or abuse of contraceptives?

Unprotected adolescent sexual activity has significantly contributed to the rapid population growth, high birth rates, and escalating rates of HIV infection.  It is alarming that over time, HIV infection has shifted to younger segments of the population, that is, among those 15 to 24 years-old and among married couples. Is it that they are considering use of contraceptives than protected sex?

Research has it that STDs have a particularly large impact on young women who are more easily infected than older women and who, compared to men, are more frequently asymptomatic, more difficult to diagnose, and suffer more serious and long-term complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancy. This research further indicates that in Nairobi up to 90% of female commercial sex workers are HIV positive, and adolescent males are often clients of commercial sex workers. If our young girls are on contraceptives and sometimes engage in unprotected sex with these adolescent males you can just imagine the mess.

I agree that teaching teenagers about sexual health and contraception is very important. There is need to provide not only sexuality education but also life skills development to enable them behave responsibly and take control of their actions. We also need to do a re-evaluation of our peer education programs. To take care of peer pressure, we need to increase the number of peer educators and sufficiently equip them, because they will significantly increase knowledge, attitude change and self-efficacy among teenagers. Peer education may be most effective among secondary school students as this is where influence on use of contraceptives is greatest.

What is your take?