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Title: Sexual behavioural patterns and knowledge amongst young Maltese people
Authors: Melillo, Tanya
Keywords: Sexual health -- Malta
Sexually transmitted diseases
Sex instruction
Issue Date: 2015
Citation: Melillo T. (2015). Sexual behavioural patterns and knowledge amongst young Maltese people (Doctoral dissertation).
Abstract: Background: The long term effects of sexual ill health are associated with complications arising from sexually transmitted infections. High rates of low condom use and casual sex with a rising trend of common Sexually Transmitted Infections amongst Maltese young people attending the Genitourinary clinic since 2000 has been observed. Objective: To better understand sexual behaviour amongst Maltese young people aged 18- 25 year olds and identify the positive and negative factors influencing such behaviour. Methodology: A cross sectional, cluster sampling method was conducted among 4480 Maltese young people, who were made up of 3 groups: full time students, full time workers and unemployed. Respondents completed a detailed self administered questionnaire on sexual knowledge, attitudes and lifestyles. Another 50 Maltese participants took part in focus groups to better understand young people 's views on sexual behavior. An assessment of the prevalence of Chlamydia infection among volunteer participants within this age group was undertaken. Results: Seventy seven percent of all respondents were sexually active with 28% having had their first sexual experience before 16 years of age and 49% between 16-18 years of age. Mean age at first sexual intercourse for females was 16.9 years and for males was 17 years of age. 32% of homosexuals had first sexual encounter before sixteen years of age. Predictors which showed statistically significance to initiating sexual activity before 16 years of age were: - Young age group (18 or 19 years); - Literate male; - Unemployed male; - Binge drinking 3-7 X a week - Taking drugs - Smoking> 11 cigarettes a day - Starting oral sex at an early age. Condom use in different sexual practices (oral, vaginal, anal, casual sex and sex with a foreigner) was low. A quarter of those sexually active drank alcohol before or during sex while 5% had illicit drugs. Twenty nine percent engaged in casual sex and 20 % have had intercourse with 2-4 partners in the last year. Mean score for knowledge on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STls) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) 74% for males and 76% for females. Knowledge increased with age, level of education and occupational status. Conclusions: There is an urgent need to provide effective and comprehensive Sex Education programmes to all Maltese school children once they initiate secondary. A collective effort is required by all players, which include school teachers, sexual health educators, parents, public health officials, government and politicians to ensure that Maltese adolescents are provided with the appropriate information and knowledge needed to equip them to practice safe sex and prevent ill sexual health outcomes. There is also the need to set up a clinic which will cater for young people's sexual needs.
Description: PH.D.
The research work disclosed is partially funded by Malta Government Scholarship Scheme grant number MGSS/2006/034.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacM&SPH - 2015

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