Behavioural risk factors for sexually transmitted infections and health seeking behaviour of street youths in Ibadan, Nigeria
Background: Street youths are faced with a number of health challenges that could be linked to their exposure to the risk elements, accessing medical care including motivation and /or ignorance to utilise available health care.
Objective: This qualitative study therefore aimed at determining the behavioural risks for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and health seeking behaviour of street youths in Ibadan.
Methods: Sixteen focus group discussion (FGD) sessions were conducted among 160 street youths aged between 15-24 years.
Result: The result showed that most of the respondents had low perception of risk of contracting STIs in spite of their risky behaviours which included multiple sexual partnering, sharing of personal effects, malnourishment and sexual harassment. Most of the street youth could not identify the various types however; Gonorrhea and HIV were commonly mentioned by them. The major treatment regimen for STIs was traditional remedies and drugs obtained from patent medicine vendors. Traditional remedies were preferred by most of the participants and considered to be more effective.
Conclusion: Majority of the street youths were sexually active, engaged in high risk sexual behaviours and had inappropriately treated sexually transmitted infections. Development of risk reduction and appropriate sexual health interventions targeted at prevention and appropriate treatment is recommended.
Keywords: street youth, risky sexual behaviour, sexually transmitted infections, health seeking behaviour, risk reduction.