Risky Sexual Behaviour Among Adolescents Attending Public Secondary Schools In Nairobi, Kenya
Ochieng’, Jackline A.
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Introduction: Globally, the average age at which young people begin to have sex has steadily decreased. It has also been noted in Africa, that the age of initiation of sexual intercourse has dropped, predisposing the adolescents to the consequences of risky sexual behaviour at an early age ( Imaledo et al., 2012). Adolescents in Kenya are sexually active, yet many do not take appropriate precautions to prevent pregnancy or the spread of sexually transmitted infections despite the information on sex education availed to them (Oindo, 2002). This research sought to study risky sexual behaviour amongst adolescents and to establish the predisposing factors from a psychosocial perspective. Adolescents, like adults, may be prone to engaging in risky sexual behaviour due to perceptions of personal invulnerability and their tendency to focus on the immediate, rather than long-term, consequences of their behaviour (Hall, Holmqvist & Sherry, 2004) Adolescence is a tumultuous stage, therefore striking a balance between healthy adolescent sexual experimentation and emotionally and physically safe sexual practices can be a major challenge for society. Aim: The major aim of this research was to study risky sexual behaviour among the adolescents attending public secondary schools in Nairobi. Study Design: A descriptive cross sectional study Study Instruments: Researcher designed socio-demographic and psychosexual questionnaire. Method: Convenient sampling was done and 499 students from form 1 to 4, completed Socio-demographic and Psychosexual questionnaires Data Analysis: Data was double entered, cleaned and analysed using SPSS version 17 and inferential analysis. Results were presented in form of tables, charts, graphs and narratives. Results: The prevalence of abstinence was 78%. Twenty five percent of the students were still engaging in sexual intercourse one week prior to interview. Most sexually active students were between 14 and 16 years of age (52% males, 40% females) and engaged in sex with partners who were of the same age group (47% males, 33% females). There was a significant association between gender and first sexual intercourse (chi square=45.537; p=0.000), the males being more sexually active than the females. Females (36%) had more partners who were above 20 years compared to males (3.6%) and the average number of sexual partners was one. Condom use at first sexual intercourse was 70% in males and 72% in females but reduced to 50% in males and 60% in females during the most recent sexual intercourse which x was one week prior to interview. The occurrence of teenage pregnancies in the sexually active group was 6% and that of sexually transmitted infections/diseases was 5%. There was a significant association between substance use and first sexual intercourse in this study (chi square=42.209; p=0.000), with alcohol being the most commonly used substance by both males (46%) and females (57%). Conclusion: The youth are still engaging in risky sexual behavior despite all the educative information and preventive measures availed to them. Alcohol and other substance use are significantly associated with risky sexual behaviour, especially during their first sexual intercourse.