High rate of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections in Fort Beaufort, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa
There is increased in teenage pregnancy despite the presence of dual protection practice and health care awareness programmes related to health and sexuality education in South Africa. The present study explores the underlying causes of high teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases rates, including HIV and AIDS in Fort Beaufort. The sample comprised of 70 conviently selected pregnant teenagers aged 15-19 years. Data were collected through self-administered questionnaire. About 56.9% participants knew nothing about family planning, 27.5% concieved family planning as prevention of pregnancy, and regard injection as a method of family planning, while 11% described family planning as planning for future babies. Those who knew about family planning mentioned friends, clinics, schools, family and neighbours as the source of information about family planning. Concerning condom use, majority (96.1%) heard about condoms, 66.7% once used the condoms and 72.5% were knowledgeable about condom use and 27.5% did not know how to use the condoms. About 34% knew that condoms protect against pregnancy and STIs, pregnancy (20.0%), STIs (37.1%) and 9% did not know anything about condoms. Regarding knowledge about STIs, 47% knew that one gets STIs through sex with an infected partner, though infectious, can be treated, 45% had no knowledge about STIs, 7.8% knew that one gets STIs when he/she sleeps with a partner without using condoms. Only 3.0% admitted having been treated for STIs. Teenagers are not well informed about family planning methods. Those who used condoms are not consistent and had limited knowledge about their use. The teenagers had knowledge about HIV and AIDS as well as STIs, but they did not use condoms during sexual intercourse which indicate negligence. There is need to reinforce health education on family planning and counseling to clients for better choices of methods including dual protection in order to prevent pregnancy and STIs, including HIV and AIDS.
Keywords: Teenage pregnancy, condom use, sexually transmitted infections, Eastern Cape.