Where and how do young People Like to Get their Sexual and ReproductiveHealth Information? Experiences from Students in Higher Learning Institutionsin Tanzania: A Cross-sectional Study

Ruby Doryn Mcharo ( mcharo7@hotmail.com )National Institute for Medical Researchhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-5006-3275 Philippe Mayaud London School of Hygiene & Tropical MedicineSia Emmanueli Msuya Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College: Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College
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BackgroundSexual and reproductive health (SRH) among young adults in developing countries is still a major public health concern. Early school-based sexuality education programs and sexual health information sharing between teachers, parents and young people have been considered protective against sexualhealth risks that young people are prone to. There is limited information on preferred choices of “where” and “how” young people like to get their SRH information. Here, we describe what young people prefer to learn with regard to sexual matters, where and who they prefer to learn from, and their experiences of parent-child sexuality communication.

MethodsThis was a cross-sectional study, conducted from March 2019 to January 2020 among students aged 18-24 years attending Higher Learning Institutions(HLIs) within Mbeya. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect information on SRH education, ability to discuss sexual matters with aparent/guardian, and SRH information gap during early sexual experience.

ResultsOut of 504 students that were enrolled, 377 (74.8%) reported to be sexually active with mean age at sexual debut of 18.4 years. Six out of ten students found itdicult to discuss or did not discuss sexual matters with a parent/guardian while growing up at age 12-18 years. Majority learnt about SRH matters frompeers (30%) and lessons at schools (23%). We found a gender-biased preference on sexual matters discussions, such that female and male participantspreferred discussions with female adults and male adults, respectively. Peers (18%), Media (17%) and schools (13%) were preferred sources of SRHinformation. On recalling rst sexual experience, participants felt they needed to know more about sexual feelings, emotions and relationships (26.9%), safersex (13.8%), how to be able to say 'No' (10.5%) and how to use a condom correctly (10.2%).

ConclusionYoung people have a gender-biased preference when it comes to learning about SRH matters from their parents; however, such conversations seldom occur.Community health IEC should incorporate the agenda on building skills of parents on parent-child communication on sexual matters so as to empower themto condently initiate and convey appropriate and sucient sexual health information. Comprehensive SRH education and skills building is needed in thecurrent school SRH curriculum in order need to meet the demand and needs of students’ and teachers’.