Understanding Reproductive & Sexual Health Knowledge and Awareness amongst First Year Medicine Students: An Observational Study
Author(s): Mrunal R Shenwai*, Deepali Khatri, Shraddha Kulkarni, Priya Mardikar
Background: Reproductive & sexual health is one of the topics which is scarcely discussed in countries like India. Increasing gap between the age of puberty & marriage, early sexual activity & inadequate knowledge might lead to risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unwanted pregnancies. The current study explores the knowledge of ??rst year medical students, who represent the late adolescent group, their sources of knowledge & information seeking needs. Aim: To understand ??rst year medical students’ knowledge & awareness about reproductive and sexual health. Methods: Cross-sectional survey, using a self-administered questionnaire given to 314 1st year students between 17-20 years at SKNMC, Pune. Analysis was done using SPSS software. Results: 65.9% Students knew about the ‘fertile period ‘during menstrual cycle with more boys answering it correctly than the girls (p<0.05). 44% denied that women can get pregnant during very ??rst intercourse. Students were aware about the various contraceptive methods with 11% agreeing to have used some, indicating sexual activity. Respondents agreed that condoms are an effective way of preventing STD & HIV with males having better knowledge as compared to females (*p<0.05). About 37% said that HIV is curable & 11% said that it transmits via mosquito bite. More females were open to talk with their mothers as compared to males but neither of them was open to interacting with fathers. Conclusion: students showed mixed levels of knowledge related to sexual health, their sources mainly being friends & media, & expressed willingness to get information through educational programs.