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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Adolescents and parents’ perceptions of best time for sex and sexual communications from two communities in the Eastern and Volta Regions of Ghana: implications for HIV and AIDS education

Emmanuel Asampong1*, Joseph Osafo2, Jeffrey Bart Bingenheimer3 and Clement Ahiadeke4

Author affiliations

1 Department of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Ghana School of Public Health, Legon, Ghana

2 Department of Psychology, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana

3 School of Public Health and Health Services, The George Washington University, Washington, USA

4 Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana

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Citation and License

BMC International Health and Human Rights 2013, 13:40  doi:10.1186/1472-698X-13-40

Published: 26 September 2013



Adolescents and parents’ differ in their perceptions regarding engaging in sexual activity and protecting themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The views of adolescents and parents from two south-eastern communities in Ghana regarding best time for sex and sexual communications were examined.


Focus Group interviews were conducted with parents and adolescents (both In-school and Out-of school) from two communities (Somanya and Adidome) in the Eastern and Volta regions of Ghana with epidemiological differentials in HIV infection.


Findings showed parents and adolescents agree that the best timing for sexual activity amongst adolescents is determined by socioeconomic viability. In practice however, there were tensions between adolescents and parents crystallized by spoilt generation and physiological drive ideologies. Whilst one community relied on a more communal approach in controlling their children; the other relied on a confrontational approach. Sex-talk is examined as a measure to reduce these tensions, and children in both communities were ambivalent over sexual communication between their parents and themselves. Parents from the two communities however differed in their perceptions. Whilst parents in one community attributed reduced teenage pregnancies to sex education, those in the other community indicated a generalized adolescents’ sexual activeness manifested in the perceived widespread delinquency in the community.


Parents in both communities reported significant barriers to parents-adolescents sexual communication. Parents in both communities should be educated to discuss the broader issues on sexuality that affects adolescents and their reproductive health needs.

Adolescents; Parents; Sex; Communication; Ghana