Access to contraceptive by minors (pre-adolescents and adolescents) has spurred policy and legislative debates, part of which is that in an effort to successfully meet government's objective of a healthy sexual lifestyle among minors.
This study examined factors affecting sexual reproductive health in minors, namely: access to contraceptive advice and treatment, pregnancy, number of sexual partners, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and confidentiality.
Materials and Methods:
This research involved quantitative and qualitative data. Two hundred and thirty eight sexually active cases were investigated in Jamaica by the researchers, during the period 2006-2007. The age group population was 9-11, 12-14, and 15-17.
The study showed that access to contraceptive advice and treatment by minors was more favorable to males than females. The difference in access to contraceptive between male and female was statistically significant (x2 = 20.16, p<0.05). Of the 80 male respondents, who are contraceptive users, 11 encountered challenges in legitimately accessing contraceptive methods, while 38 of the 40 female users also encountered challenges. This resulted in unintended pregnancies and impregnation (33.2%), as well as the contracting of STIs (21%).
The findings of this study will be important in informing the development of reproductive health services and family life education programs for pre-adolescents and adolescents in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries.