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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 81-87

Determinants of the age at sexual debut among adolescents in secondary schools in Obio/Akpor local government area of Rivers State, Nigeria


1 Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria
2 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Nneka Gabriel-Job
Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/phmj.phmj_7_18

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Background: The age at sexual debut is an important public health issue as it determines the onset of exposure to sexual and reproductive health diseases. Early sexual debut increases the risk of sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy and all the associated sequelae. This study determined the age at sexual debut and associated factors among adolescents in secondary schools in Obio/Akpor local government area (LGA) of Rivers State, Nigeria. Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional school-based study was carried out among eight secondary schools in Obio/Akpor LGA of Rivers State between May and July 2017. Using the multistaged sampling method, 426 students aged 10–19 years were recruited. A semi-structured pretested self-administered questionnaire was used. SPSS version 20 was used for analysis. Comparison of means was done using the Student's t-test, while the test for association between subgroups was carried out using the Chi-square test and logistic regression analysis was done to describe the sociodemographic characteristics of respondents and to identify independently associated factors. Results: Of the 426 students studied, 223 (52.3%) of them were males and 203 (47.7%) were females, giving a male-to-female ratio of 1:1. The mean age of respondents was 13.8 ± 1.7 years. The prevalence of sexual intercourse was 8.0%, with a mean age at sexual debut of 13.0 ± 2.3 years. The factors identified to influence the age at sexual debut include alcohol use (odds ratio [OR]: 13.088, confidence interval [CI]: 6.038–28.374, P = 0.000), not living with both parents (OR: 7.008, CI: 3.289–15.164, P = 0.000), peer pressure (χ[2] = 17.007, P ≤ 0.001) and sexual abuse (χ[2] = 7.472, P = 0.006). Conclusion: The prevalence of sexual intercourse is 8.0% among adolescents in Obio/Akpor LGA. Early sexual debut exists with no gender difference on the timing of sexual debut. Peer pressure, sexual abuse, alcohol use and absence of both parents in a child's life are risk factors to early sexual debut. An early and comprehensive sex education is necessary to protect children from initiating sexual intercourse early in life.


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