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While sexuality education is just one component in a multifaceted approach to address, and ultimately improve, the sexual and reproductive lives of young people, it provides a structured opportunity for adolescents to gain knowledge and skills, to explore their attitudes and values, and to practice the decision making and other life skills necessary for making healthy informed choices about their sexual lives.
In contrast, comprehensive sexuality education programs that recognize sexual activity during adolescence as normative behavior, that seek to ensure the safety of such behavior, and that focus on human rights, gender equality and empowerment have demonstrated impact in several areas: improving knowledge, self-confidence and self-esteem; positively changing attitudes and gender and social norms; strengthening decision-making and communication skills and building self-efficacy; and increasing the use of condoms and other contraceptives.
Contraceptive use is relatively low among adolescents in Kenya.
Although 96% of all adolescent females have heard of at least one modern method, only 41% of sexually active 15–19-year-olds are currently using any contraceptive method, and 37% are using a modern one.
The median age at first intercourse is 18 for females and 17 for males, yet among 15–19-year-olds, 11% and 20% of each gender, respectively, initiated sex before age 15.
In the three geographic areas included in the current study, adolescents living in Homa Bay county were more likely to initiate sex at an early age (24% of females and 39% of males) than were those living in Mombasa (6% and 26%, respectively) or Nairobi county (10% and 17%, respectively).
“Girls are very aware of the kind of virtuous or ‘well-behaved’ women men want to marry and they aspire to that model,” says Deacon. They might be having casual sex with a guy for fun on the weekend or sleeping with an older man to get something they need, but the minute they use contraception they are admitting to themselves they are having sex out of a relationship.” While 31 percent of those interviewed said they were single and sexually active, only 7 percent of those single people said they use contraception every time they have sex.One in three people aged 15 to 24 interviewed for the report said they had or knew someone who had a sponsor.Most people thought it was okay to have a sponsor, even if that person is in another relationship.“It flags up a concerning reality that both service providers and Shujaaz need to take into account,” says Deacon.“How can we encourage our audience to visit a clinic if we know we are sending them into an unpredictable, precarious environment?
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A recent Demographic Health Survey found over half of married women are using some form of contraception, with 60 percent of users obtaining them from government health facilities.