Ask an adolescent what sexually transmitted infections are and you will be surprised about their depth of knowledge on the matter.
That’s a finding by Dr. Rex Senyo Amedo, then a final year medical student at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
He sought to assess the knowledge, perception and practices of adolescents in respect of STIs and HIV-AIDS
“We wanted to know whether this translated into their perception of risk and the perception also translated into safer sexual practices,” he noted.
Of 346 students interviewed in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis, only 48% could correctly define STI.
Adolescent respondents were also found to be involved in three forms of sexual practice: oral, anal and peno-vagina.
The research found 43% of those who could correctly define STI believed they are low risk. Only half of the sexually active respondents use condoms.
A good number of adolescents are of the view, coughing, sneezing and sharing plates are methods of HIV transmission.
Dr. Amedo says major stakeholders the Ministries of Health and Education as well as other stakeholders intensify school health education.
“Although we live in a conservative country, we have more adolescents who are partaking in risky sexual behaviour. So we need to be open to have more conversations with them,” he recommends.