Awareness, Gender Variations, Consequences of Sexual Risk Behavior and Adopted Solutions among Senior Secondary Schools Adolescents in Owerri, Nigeria.
In our area, there is dearth of accurate sex education that could equip adolescents in making informed decisions on sexual issues. This scenario has been linked to a high prevalence of sexual risk behaviors, consequences and poor choices with regard to solutions. Objective: To determine the awareness, gender variations, consequences of sexual risk behavior, and adopted solutions among senior secondary school adolescents in Owerri, Nigeria. Methodology: This was a cross sectional survey of 384 in-school adolescents in Owerri, Nigeria, selected using a multistage sampling technique. Data were collected using pretested self-administered semi- structured questionnaires. Data were analyzed using SPSS v.22 (p<0.05). Results: The majority of adolescents, i.e. 306 (82.5%), were aware of sexual risk behaviors, 340 (91.6%) had received some sex education, and 296 (79.8%) were aware of contraceptives. Key sources of information on sexuality were schools and parents. In total, 54 (14.1%) participants were sexually active, 12 (22.2%) reported ever having an STI, and 9 (75%) had been treated in hospital. Also, 8 (14.8%) of the 54 had dealt with a pregnancy; 7 (87.5%) had undergone an abortion, 3 (42.9%) in a hospital. Sexual risk behaviors among males were associated with age (p=0.002), school type (p=0.002), and alcohol intake (p=0.000), while the residence of the parents had a stronger influence among females (p=0.014). Conclusions: This study found high awareness of sexual issues, mainly sourced from schools and parents. Associations were made between sexual risk behaviors and gender differences (age, school type, and alcohol intake in males, parental residence among females). The consequences of sexual risk behaviors were early pregnancy and STIs, with poor solutions adopted.