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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Sexual practices among unmarried adolescents in Tanzania

Method R Kazaura1* and Melkiory C Masatu2

Author Affiliations

1 Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

2 Centre for Educational Development in Health Arusha, Arusha, Tanzania Department of Public Health, Tanzania

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BMC Public Health 2009, 9:373  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-373

Published: 6 October 2009

Abstract

Background

Sexual activities are increasingly changing from the cultural point of view what they used to be. Knowledge of these practices among adolescents may be a basis to create awareness among adolescents on practices that involve risks. This study aims to assess sexual practices among unmarried adolescents in Tanzania.

Methods

A cross-sectional survey was conducted among in-school and out-of-school but unmarried adolescents aged 10 to 19 in five locations in Tanzania. A questionnaire was used to collect information and to characterize sexual practices among these adolescents.

Results

About 32% of adolescents reported being sexually active; a higher proportion being males than females. The only inquired and reported sexual practices include vaginal sex, masturbation, oral and anal sex. About 15% of sexually active adolescents reported having multiple sexual partners. Significantly more males reported having multiple partners than females. Nearly 42% of sexually active adolescents reported having used a condom during most recent sexual act. Females reported older partners at first sexual act.

Conclusion

Adolescents experience several sexual practices that include penetrative and non-penetrative. More males reported being sexually active than females. Despite adolescents reporting having multiple sexual partners, reported condom use during the most recent sexual act was low. We advocate for a more enhanced approach of reproductive health education that includes safer sex to adolescents without forgetting those in-schools.