Adolescent Sexual Behaviour and Practices in Nigeria: A Twelve Year Review

J Aji, MO Aji, CO Ifeadike, OF Emelumadu, C Ubajaka, SA Nwabueze, UE Ebenebe, EC Azuike


Background: Adolescence is a time of opportunity and
risk. During this time, attitudes, values and behaviours
that forms a young person's future begin to develop and
take shape. The World Health Organization (WHO)
estimates that 70% of premature deaths among adults are
largely due to behaviours initiated during adolescence.
Age of sexual debut is generally low, yet there is dearth of
knowledge on sexuality.
Objective: The article reviewed the sexual practices and
behaviours of Nigerian adolescents in the last twelve
Methods: Available publications in local and
international journals on adolescent sexual behaviour and
practices covering a twelve-year period from January 2000
to December 2011 were retrieved from the Library (NAUTH
Medical Library). Additional search for published articles
was done on the internet from Pubmed/Medline and other
search engines.
Results: Adolescents engage in unhealthy sexual
behaviours, characterized by early age at sexual initiation,
unsafe sex and multiple sex partners. Reasons given for
this include curiosity, peer influence, pleasure and
financial benefit, amongst others.
Conclusion: The strategies given in this review have the
potential to increase sexual awareness in adolescents,
encourage contraceptive use and improve adolescent
reproductive and sexual health in the country.

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