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Teenage Sexual Knowledge - Essay Example

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In teenage health care and education, prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) should be given high priority. Delaying initial sexual intercourse would, of course, reduce the rate of teenage pregnancies, but this is not easily achieved…
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Download file to see previous pages The need for sex education for this target group cannot be emphasized enough. The question of sex education and communication within the family vis--vis the teenager's decision to use contraception has always been controversial. Conservative elements within the family as an institution, coupled with those within society, have long held that to talk about sexuality reveals behavioural practices of which teenagers are not aware. Would informed teenagers then not want to gain experience in the light of their newfound knowledge In recommending sex education to teenagers, one must seriously consider the above as well as the fact that this recommendation is often in direct opposition to 10 to 15 years of parental, peer, media, and religious influence.
Sexuality has always been an intrinsic part of human behaviour. Since different customs, moral and ethical codes, behavioural manners, and practices have influenced its expression during the course of human evolution, sexual behaviour is non-uniform in different religions, cultures, continents, and countries. Two of the numerous perspectives from which one can view teenage sexual activity are as a normal developmental milestone or as risk-taking and possibly health-compromising behaviour.
Most people will become sexually active in their teenage years and they, therefore, need access to acceptable and reliable methods of contraception. No single method of contraception provides maximum protection against unwanted pregnancy and STDs and no one method will suit every individual. (Ventura et al., p. 1, 2006)
Teenagers who do not use contraception have a 90% chance of becoming pregnant in one year; however, reports show that teenagers delay seeking prescription contraception for an average of 1 year after initiating sexual activity. Not surprisingly, half of teenager pregnancies occur in the first 6 months of sexual activity. (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2004)
The most commonly used forms of contraception are the oral contraceptive pill and condoms. The use of each requires skill and negotiation, which may be tricky at a young age. Male condoms are central to the practice of safe sex and their use should be encouraged even if another method is also used ('Double Dutch approach'). Condoms should be available free from family planning services, GP surgeries and school clinics. In many areas a 'C-Card' system operates, which provides training and free condoms on production of an identity card. The training provided is key to success as condoms have a high failure rate when used by teenagers. (Fergusson and Lynskey, p. 91, 2006)
Emergency contraception (EC) should not be used as a regular form of contraception but should be readily available and easily accessible for all young people. Many young people are not aware of the 72-hour 'window period' and are confused by the inappropriately named 'morning-after pill'. Young people need to firstly be aware of EC and secondly where to get it from. EC is more effective the earlier it is taken. EC is now available over the counter for those ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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