Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Study: 22.5% of girls admit having sex at age 15

Study: 22.5% of girls admit having sex at age 15

 Published: 5 Mar 2014 at 16.12
Online news: Local News

Almost half of girls in the seven provinces with the highest teenage pregnancy rates started at having sex at the age of 16 or younger, according to a government-sponsored research study.

Speaking at a workshop on ways to avoid unplanned teenage pregnancy, the director of the Centre for Research and Training on Gender and Women's Health at Khon Kaen University said the research was conducted in the seven provinces with the highest teenage pregancy rate in 2011.

According to Prof Dr Siriporn Jirawattanakul, a total of 3,114 teenage pregnancy cases were recorded in hospitals in Kamphaeng Phet, Nakhon Ratchasima, Samut Songkhram, Samut Sakhon, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Surat Thani and Narathiwat that year.

In-depth interviews were carried out with 451 female school and university students in the areas.

Of the group, 29% said they met their first boyfriend at the age of 15, and 17.3% at the age of 14.

A further 22.5% said they started having sex when they were 15-years-old, while 22.4% said they did so at the age of 16. Most said their sexual experiences had been with older partners.

The workshop was organised by the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security at a Bangkok hotel on Tuesday.

Permanent secretary of the department Lertpanya Buranabandit said the teenage pregnancy rate may be continuing to rise because activities to combat the issue had been focussing on preventive and awareness-raising programmes, rather than direct interventions with young people.

Prof Dr Siriporn meanwhile warned that many of the young people in the research admitted to using ineffective "contraception", such as the "withdrawal method" and timing sex to take place at  the least fertile point of the month. "The best way is to wear condoms or take birth control pills," she said.

The research was conducted in 2011, but data recently gathered by the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) was no different, she said, arguing that relevant agencies must revise and adjust their campaigns and activities to reduce the teenage pregnancy rate in the country.

Prof Dr Siriporn added that the study found that teenagers began engaging in sexual relations with their partners after knowing them for anything between one day and four months. Those who decided to have sex on the same day as meeting their partner said they just "clicked" after having a conversation for the first time.

The majority of pregnant teenagers were found to live at home with their parents, she said, with 41% reporting staying with their mother or father, while the others lived with relatives, friends or in dormitories.
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