Self-reported sexual behaviour among adolescent girls in Uganda: reliability of data debated

  • EB Råssjö
  • F Mirembe
  • Darj Elisabeth


Objective: To compare self-reported information about sexual behaviour in a research interview to information retrieved during a clinical consultation.
Method: 595 sexually experienced women below 20 years, were interviewed by a social worker about genital symptoms and sexual behaviour. A midwife interviewed, examined, and took vaginal samples for gonorrhoea and chlamydia. Four questions were embedded in both the social workers interviews and among midwife’s questions. The women were asked if they perceived their latest /current partner to be faithful, if he had complained about any genital symptoms, if a condom was used at latest sexual intercourse and if the woman knew her HIV status.
Results: The prevalence of gonorrhoea and/or chlamydia was 7.1% but for women who reported that their partner had complained about genital symptoms it was significantly higher. Agreement between answers given in the research interview and to the midwife was good for HIV status but only fair or moderate for perceived faithfulness, partner’s symptoms and recent condom use.
Conclusion: Information about risk factors revealed in individual interviews and by the midwives taking a history was incongruent. Any approach for management of STIs, which is built on self-reported risk factors, needs careful assessment of reliability.

Keywords: Adolescents, Risk factors, reliability, STI, Uganda

African Health Sciences 2011; 11(3): 383 - 389

Author Biographies

EB Råssjö
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Centre for Clinical Research, Falun Hospital, Sweden
F Mirembe
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Mulago Hospital, Kampala, Uganda
Darj Elisabeth
Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, International Maternal and Child Health, Akademiska Hospital, University of Uppsala, Sweden

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1680-6905