Risky sexual behaviours are spreading among youth, reveals a study. It has been revealed that youth aged 18-24 years who reside in urban settings engage in risky sex practices more than others.
The study carried out by L.N. Siriwardena (Acting Consultant Venereologist at the Sexually Transmitted Diseases [STDs] clinic of Homagama) and N. Abeygunasekera (Consultant Venereologist at the STDs Clinic of Kalubowila points out that , 40% could not name a scientific method of contraception while the majority (nearly 60%) of those who were not aware of scientific methods of contraception were females.
Nearly half of the sample of about 500 youth studying in government vocational training centres said that school-based Sex and Reproductive Health(SRH) education did not prepare them for their sexual debut, or to avoid STIs or unplanned pregnancies.
About a quarter (25%) were sexually active and 43% of them had had their sexual debut before the age of 18 years. The majority (93%) of those who were sexually experienced were not married. Regarding condom use, the majority (60%) of those who were sexually experienced had not used condoms at their sexual debut and another 14% could not remember if they had, and the majority (nearly 69%) had not used a condom at their last sexual exposure.
The commonest sexual behaviour for the sexual debut was oral sex for both males (74%) and females (59%), while 10% of males who were sexually experienced had anal sex at their first sexual exposure. Of those who had ever had sex, 43% had their sexual debut at or before 18 years. Oral sex is commonly practised. When queried about STI transmission through oral sex, only 41% correctly said that STIs could be acquired through oral sex.
The researchers emphasised that SRH education and messages have to be more targeted while healthcare services and the internet has to be utilised in such targeted interventions.