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Prevention is better than cure: Adolescents' perceptions of unprotected sexual intercourse
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Sierra Leone has for a long time been commonly known for the civil war that started in 1991 and ended in 2002 with the help of many West African countries but also with the United Nations. As a possible consequence of the war, this West African country has recently become well-known for its current situation for adolescents, who account for 70% of the population.Adolescence is a formative period and can be imperative for future behaviour: this has especially been acknowledged of the WHO and UNFPA regarding sexual and reproductive health and rights. Even though the most recent Demographic and Health Survey has demonstrated that knowledge regarding consequences following sexual intercourse is apparent, 26% of all live births are represented by adolescent girls and 40% of the same age group stands for the maternal deaths in the country. There is a need to explore perceptions that adolescents living in the Western area of Freetown have towards sexual and reproductive health and rights. The focus in this mainly regards pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).The methods used are individual interviews with 20 respondents: in-depth interviews with 16 adolescents living in the Western area of Freetown was conducted and also 4 key-informant interviews with stakeholders currently working with the issue of changing sexual behaviour among adolescents in this area of Freetown. A direct content analysis is used toResults show that obliviousness of using protection when still being aware of consequences from adolescent boys is a common risk factor for why protection is not used. Poverty is also a major risk factor since this enables transactional sex and consequently empowers the boy. Knowledge of sexually transmitted infections is generally low among both sexes and these infections are perceived as a worse consequence than pregnancy. There are more benefits to use protection during sexual intercourse than to not do so: however, there are barriers in order to do so and also to seek care. The sample of adolescents perceives it to be essential to wait for precarious health behaviour since it can affect finances, education and parental trust. They also believe it to be important to target all adolescent girls and adolescent boys in Freetown, regardless of education status.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 43 p.
, Centre for Public Health Report Series, ISSN 1651-341X ; 2014:18
Keyword [en]
adolescence, Freetown, health-seeking behaviour, reproductive behaviour, sexual behaviour, Sierra Leone
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-105008OAI: diva2:822589
External cooperation
Restless Development
Educational program
Master's Programme in Public Health (one-year)
2014-05-26, Umeå, 13:34 (English)
Available from: 2016-04-15 Created: 2015-06-16 Last updated: 2016-04-15Bibliographically approved

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