These Are The Risk Factors For Unhealthy Sexual Behavior Among Youth

One of the major challenges that an International Programme on Sexuality is likely to encounter is the assessment of what are considered risky sexual behaviors when it comes to young people. This is mainly because of the biases, whether intentional or unintentional that come into play when attempting to identify and measure the levels of some of these behaviors.

One of the main reasons for this biases is the fact that sexual behavior is still a taboo topic in many parts of the world therefore being a very sensitive and difficult topic to openly discuss with young people. Most youth simply find it uncomfortable discussing with adults about their sexuality because they perceive adults as too judgmental. It’s scenarios like these that are making it much more difficult to address the many risky sexual behaviors of young people.

Let’s take a look at some of the risk factors associated with unhealthy sexual behavior among young people.

Some forms of mental illness

Studies have revealed that young people who suffer from mental illness engage in more risky sexual behavior in comparison to those who are not mentally ill. Apparently, some forms of mental illness have been known to significantly contribute to risky sexual behavior among young people by increasing or bringing out promiscuous sexual behavior. In addition to this, most of them will not have the frame of mind to use any form of contraception and this has led to high pregnancy and STIs among them. Some of these mental illnesses include dependent, antisocial, and paranoid personality disorders. It’s also worth noting that females are more affected by this exposure to risky sexual behaviors than males.

Depression is a risk factor

A number of studies conducted on young people have revealed that depression has a direct contribution to their risky sexual behavior. For instance, it’s reported that young males who are depressed will rarely use a condom when engaging in sex whereas when it comes to girls, cases of STIs have been reported in majority of girls who had a history of depression. The explanation for this is the fact that in most cases, depression brings with it hopelessness, lowered self-esteem, self-destructive tendencies, among other negative feelings which will essentially make them care less about protecting themselves thus increasing their exposure to risky sexual behavior.

Alcohol and substance abuse

Alcohol and substance abuse has been known to contribute to both involuntary and voluntary risky sexual behavior among young people. In many cases, youth who frequently engage in alcohol and substance abuse will often get themselves into compromising situations and it’s more likely than not that they will end up engaging in risky sexual behavior. This could be engaging in unprotected sex or becoming victims of sexual abuse. In some cases, young people especially those addicted to drugs have been known to trade sex for drugs or for money to buy drugs.

For the success of any International Programme on Sexuality, it will be important to seek to find out how these risk factors affect young people across different cultural contexts so that contextualized programs can be designed to help mitigate these risk factors.

We invite you to share with us your experiences on youth and sexuality. Let’s join hands to transform the lives of our youth.

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The 3 Main Social Determinants Of Youth Sexual Behavior

When designing an international programme on sexuality, there are certain basic principles of health that don’t change regardless of the part of the world you travel. A young person’s social environment, from their home, to school, to place of work, to their neighborhoods and communities will have some form of impact on their sexuality. These are what are commonly referred to as social determinants.

These social determinants which include both socio-economic and environmental factors have been known to influence the sexual behavior, wellbeing as well as development of young people globally. This therefore means that any interventions designed to address youth sexuality will not be successful when implemented on their own. Instead, an international programme on sexuality must employ a holistic approach targeted at improving reproductive health outcomes for young people through addressing social determinants of health, including but not limited to access to quality education, healthcare, economic and job opportunities.

We take a look at the 3 main social determinants of youth sexual behavior that should be priority areas.

The challenge of economic empowerment

Whether you travel to the developed or under developed part of the world, the challenge of economic empowerment is a major contributor to youth sexual behavior. Transactional sex is one of the main contributors of HIV, STIs and unintended pregnancies among young people around the world. Transactional sex is not necessarily sex for money alone, but rather sex in exchange for something of economic value. Many youth have been known to use sex as a way of acquiring things they want, things that mostly have an economic value. The way to mitigate this is to include aspects of economic empowerment in interventions, to address this problem.

Academic and career mentorship

Quality education has been proven to be a positive determinant to the sexual wellbeing of youth both in school and out of school in any part of the world. As a matter of fact, studies indicate risky sexual behavior can be directly linked to a person’s level of education. Most young people who complete their cycle of education are at a much lower risk of exposure to risky sexual behavior as opposed to those who drop out of school. As part of addressing youth sexuality, it’s therefore imperative to have interventions focused on academic and career mentorship of young people so as to improve their decision making on their life choices.

Leadership and Governance

There is a need to continuously sensitize young people, their parents, their local communities, religious leaders as well as governments around the world on the benefits of good leadership and responsive citizenship. This is a component that needs to be a part of any intervention on youth sexuality because a citizenry that is in touch with how their government functions for instance the budget making processes, development planning, and so on will be much better placed to participate in advocacy initiatives aimed at addressing their own problems which include better resource allocation and policy to address young people’s sexual health and wellbeing.

Designing solutions to address these 3 determinants will be a major coup in the fight to improve young people’s sexual behavior.

We invite you to share with us your experiences on youth and sexuality. Let’s join hands to transform the lives of our youth.

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3 Main Problems Affecting Youth Today

It’s estimated that youth between the ages of 15 to 24 years constitute about 18 per cent of the world’s population. In numbers, this is just over one billion. These young people constitute an important cluster because they represent the next generation of professionals, breadwinners, parents and leaders. This therefore means that as an international community, we must be very deliberate and prioritize the needs of the young person so that they are better prepared to take up the responsibilities before them.

Keeping this in mind, in any part of the globe you travel, you will discover that youth face almost similar challenges that hinder them from living up to their potential. This article seeks to explore the 3 main challenges facing youth today.

The erosion of national pride

A keen look at the youth today will reveal that most of them have lost their sense of national pride. Many young people from around the world barely know the words to their national anthems or even loyalty pledges. Society has made young people develop a strong sense of individualism and capitalism and this has ended up eroding their sense of community and nationhood. The young person’s attitude has therefore become about “what’s in it for me” as opposed to “what’s in it for us”. The problem with such a mentality is that most youth will not be interested in working towards solving societal problems that don’t directly affect them therefore making it much more challenging to address national issues.

The challenges of parenting

It is said that charity begins at home. This is especially true because the family is the most basic unit of society. Today however, because of many challenges with parenting such as absentee parents, single parenthood, neglectful parents among many other challenges, many parents have dropped the ball and abandoned their responsibility of raising their children with the right values. This has resulted in a youth population that is not guided with the right value system. This has in turn exposed young people to higher risks of dropping out of school, risky sexual behaviors, drug, alcohol and substance abuse among many other risks.

Early introduction to adulthood

This is related to the above point. The failure by parents to take up their responsibilities has resulted in children filling the void on their own. This therefore means that as young people take up the responsibility of parenting themselves, it also means they will start in engaging in adult-like activities much earlier. These include partaking alcohol, engaging in sex, and even starting their own families while still too young. The problem of teenage parents is a global challenge requires an urgent solution.

There are of course many other challenges affecting the young person of today but we chose to focus on these three because they directly touch on youth sexuality which is our main area of interest. We believe that any organization seeking to design an international programme on sexuality must explore these problems and offer tangible and practical solutions in order for their program to be successful.

We invite you to share with us your experiences on youth and sexuality. Let’s join hands to transform the lives of our youth.

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