Main Article Content
Aims: The aim of this study is to understand the factors that influence early sexual debut among adolescents in order to devise appropriate strategies to delay first sex as a crucial element for adolescents’ sexual health.
Study Design: Across-sectional survey was conducted among adolescents aged 15 to 19 years.
Place and Duration of Study: The study took place in the Kintampo Municipality and South District of Ghana from October 2010 to March 2011.
Methods: Male and Female adolescents aged 15 to 19 years participated in the study. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. Eight Focus Group Discussions were held among 96 of the adolescents.
Results: A total of 793 adolescents participated in the study at a response rate of 100%. About 40% of adolescents interviewed had initiated sex. Median age at first sex was 14.5 years. Majority (72.1%) of adolescents initiated sex between ages 15-17 years. Almost all predictor variables explored were significantly associated with early sexual intercourse initiation. Females were five times more likely to initiate sex, compared to males with an adjusted OR of 5.06, (95% CI:3.28-7.78; P<.001)]. Adolescents who resided with a single parent were two times more likely to initiate sex, compared to adolescents who lived with both parents with an adjusted OR of 2.22, (95% CI: 1.40-3.51;P<.001). Adolescents who did not take alcohol were less likely to initiate sex early, compared to those who did with adjusted OR of 0.21(95% CI:0.08-0.58 P<.001).
Conclusion: Majority of adolescents had initiated sex. Sexual initiation among adolescents was more likely among females compared to their male counterparts. Various socio-cultural factors contribute to early sexual initiation. There is the need for education on sex, pregnancy and related issues among adolescents in the area.