Sexual Activity and Contraceptive Use among Female Adolescents – A Report from Port Harcourt, Nigeria

  • AOU Okpani Department Of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Health Sciences, University of Port Harcourt. Correspondence: Dr AOU Okpani, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, P M B 6173, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.<
  • JU Okpani Department of Physical and Health Education, Federal Government Girls College, Abuloma, Port Harcourt.
Keywords: Female adolescents, sexual activity, contraceptive use, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Abstract



Seven hundred and sixty eight randomly selected single senior secondary school girls from Port Harcourt (mean age 16.32 years) were surveyed on aspects of sexual activity and contraceptive use. Two hundred and ten pregnancies (24 deliveries and 186 induced abortions) had occurred in 142 out of 605 girls (78.8%) who admitted being sexually exposed. The mean, modal and youngest ages of initiation into sexual activity were 15.04, 15 and 12 years respectively. At the time of the survey, 190 girls (24.7%) were sexually active and 74.2% of their male consorts were older working men, suggesting financial gains as a motive for the girls' sexual activity. Other findings were high awareness (72.4%) of the relationship between sexual activity and sexually transmitted diseases; a rather low level (56%) of knowledge of effective contraceptive methods, and limitation of contraceptive method use by sexually active girls, largely to the rhythm and withdrawal methods. Exposure to multiple sexual partners and a high level of parental approval of subjects' use of contraception were also present. In view of our findings, it is suggested that active efforts to promote sexuality education and contraceptive use should be intensified among Nigerian adolescents.

(Afr J Reprod Health 2000; 4 [1]: 40-47)

Key Words: Female adolescents, sexual activity, contraceptive use, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
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