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Afr Women Health. 1993 Jul-Sep;1(4):15-21.

Teenage life. Sex education should start early.



The findings of a survey conducted among 4510 young men and women 15-24 years old in six districts of Uganda revealed a need for more comprehensive reproductive health services for adolescents and earlier introduction of sex education. By age 15 years, 52% of males and 38% of females were already sexually active. In the three years preceding the survey, 45.3% of males and 13.4% of females had had three or more sexual partners. Although 78.2% of males and 56.6% of females had heard of condoms, only 12.7% of males and 0.4% of females reported current condom use. The overwhelming majority (83.9% of males and 87.0% of females) were not using any contraceptive method and there was widespread agreement that condom use communicates a lack of respect for one's partner. Awareness of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)--especially acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, syphilis, and gonorrhea--was high, and 21.4% of males and 7.8% of females admitted to a history of at least one STD. Earlier initiation of sex education in the school curriculum might increase awareness of the importance of condom use before young people become sexually active and thus help to close the gap between knowledge and practice. Also urged are reproductive health care services for adolescents that integrate sex education, STD diagnosis and treatment, and family planning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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