The Sexual and Reproductive Health Knowledge and Behavior of Very Young Adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa
Ann E. Biddlecom, Guttmacher Institute
Akinrinola Bankole, Guttmacher Institute
Georges Guiella, Université de Ouagadougou
Adolescent sexual and reproductive health is a critically important policy and programmatic issue in sub-Saharan Africa, but little is known about the situation among very young adolescents (those under age 15 years). This paper is based on new data for female and male 12-14 year olds obtained from national surveys of adolescents in four countries across sub-Saharan Africa (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi and Uganda). The paper examines three main topics: (1) the prevalence of different types of sexual activity; (2) the extent and correctness of knowledge about STI/HIV and unplanned pregnancy risks and means of protection; and (3) knowledge of and preferences for sources of sexual and reproductive health information. Differences between males and females and across countries are of particular focus. Preliminary results show no consistent pattern in the progression of sexual activity and the majority of school-going 12-14 year olds are not receiving sex education.