Level of Knowledge of Reproductive Health Issues and Sexual Behaviour among Street Adolescents in Mumbai
The period adolescence is generally considered to be free from health problems. In reality, most of health problems, particularly concerning reproductive health, emerge during this period. Due to crowded living conditions, changing aspirations, the influence of mass media and developed nations, the adolescents have become aware of sexual relationship early in life, but often have little factual information or understanding of its biological significance. Rapid urbanization, population growth migration, the external debt, unequal income distribution and entrenched poverty in India have led to an increase in the number of street adolescents, who live and work on the streets for income. Street adolescents are exposed to poor health environment and risks for fulfilling their basic needs. An explorative study is undertaken in central and south part of the Mumbai with an objective to investigate knowledge of reproductive health issues and sexual behaviour among Street adolescents. The sample of this study was purposive. Data was collected through personal interview with street adolescents, using a pre-designed semi-structured interview schedule after obtaining informed consent. 315 boys and 332 girls were interviewed during the survey. The mean age of the participants was about 14 years. Results of this study indicate that sexual experience among street adolescents’ increases with the level of knowledge of; contraception, STD symptoms and routes of HIV transmission. Study emphasis need to implement preventive interventions for the street adolescent with social skills to negotiate sexual behaviuor and understand the importance of preventive behaviour. This needs to have behavioural change communication programmes for street adolescents.
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