Sexual Exposure and Knowledge of Safe Reproductive Health Practices among Female Adolescents in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State, Nigeria
Keywords:sexual exposure, adolescents, sexual debut, sexual behavior, reproductive health
This field study examined the subject of sexual exposure and knowledge of safe reproductive health practices among female adolescents in Enugu East local government area of Enugu State, Nigeria. Anchored on the sexuality-gender framework which is complemented by the empowerment Model, the study surveyed 500 respondents through the use of multi-stage sampling technique. The instruments used for data collection comprised of structured questionnaire, in-depth interview guide, and the Focus Group Discussions guide. Six research questions raised for the research formed the basis for data analysis. The findings, among other things, show that exposure to sexual encounter which many respondents considered as a vehicle for expression of love to their partner, was relatively high (58%) among female adolescents in Enugu East Local Government Area. Similarly, although respondents’ knowledge of safe reproductive measures was reasonable, unwanted pregnancy, contracting and spreading of STDs as well as emotional and psychological damages remained consequences of early sexual exposures. This is particularly so because many female adolescents in the area failed to put their knowledge into practice and instead adopted unsafe sexual behaviours. Finally life education and promotion of the knowledge and benefits of contraceptives use among adolescents through the media, amongst others were canvassed as solutions to enhance a more positive sexual behaviour of female adolescents in Enugu East Local Government Area towards their reproductive health.