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East African Journal of Public Health
East African Public Health Association
ISSN: 0856-8960
Vol. 3, No. 2, 2006, pp. 19-22
Bioline Code: lp06011
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

East African Journal of Public Health, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2006, pp. 19-22

 en LEVELS OF KNOWLEDGE AND SOURCES OF INFORMATION ON SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL YOUTH IN DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA
Anna Tengia-Kessy and Hussein Kamugisha

Abstract

Objective: The main purpose of this study was to explore sources of information and levels of knowledge on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among youth in secondary schools in Ilala district, Dar es Salaam.
Methods: A cross sectional survey was undertaken among secondary school youth selected randomly from three public secondary schools. A self-administered questionnaire was used to gather information on socio-demographic characteristics, sexual activity, STIs-related knowledge and sources of information on STIs among the respondents.
Results: A total of 312 youth aged 12-22 years participated, 54.3 percent being female. The large majority of the participants were aged 15-18 years (57.3 percent). About 28 percent of the respondents (40.4 percent of boys and 16.9 percent of girls) reported to have experienced sexual intercourse. While teachers were reported to be the least source of information on STIs, the mass media, particularly television was perceived to be the commonest source from which a greater part of the youth got such information (23.4 and 75.0 percent respectively). Generally, less than three-quarters (70 percent) of the students had a good level of STIs-related knowledge and this knowledge was significantly associated with increasing chronological age and current level of education of the respondents (Chi square for trend = 15.06, p = 0.000 and 13.06, p = 0.000 respectively).
Conclusion: Despite STIs being rampant among young people worldwide, these findings suggest a high sexual activity among the respondents and a relatively low level of knowledge on STIs. Moreover, although family life education has been integrated into the school national school curriculum, majority of the students got information on STIs via the media. In view of the findings, it is recommended that additional efforts are required to raise the level of knowledge on STIs amongst the youth in schools to enable them make informed sexual decisions. It is also imperative that heath messages targeting youth take into consideration the acceptability of the medium exploited.

 
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