Adolescent Sexual Behaviour and Practices in Nigeria: A Twelve Year Review
Background: Adolescence is a time of opportunity and risk. During this time, attitudes, values and behaviours that forms a young person's future begin to develop and take shape. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 70% of premature deaths among adults are largely due to behaviours initiated during adolescence. Age of sexual debut is generally low, yet there is dearth of knowledge on sexuality.
Objective: The article reviewed the sexual practices and behaviours of Nigerian adolescents in the last twelve years.
Methods: Available publications in local and international journals on adolescent sexual behaviour and practices covering a twelve-year period from January 2000 to December 2011 were retrieved from the Library (NAUTH Medical Library). Additional search for published articles was done on the internet from Pubmed/Medline and other search engines.
Results: Adolescents engage in unhealthy sexual behaviours, characterized by early age at sexual initiation, unsafe sex and multiple sex partners. Reasons given for this include curiosity, peer influence, pleasure and financial benefit, amongst others.
Conclusion: The strategies given in this review have the potential to increase sexual awareness in adolescents, encourage contraceptive use and improve adolescent reproductive and sexual health in the country.
Keywords: Adolescent sexual behaviour, Adolescent health and development, secondary school students, adolescent pregnancy.