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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 422; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040422

A Survey of Current Knowledge on Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Sexual Behaviour in Italian Adolescents

1
Di.S.Sal. Department of Dermatology, IRCCS Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria San Martino-IST, Genoa 16132, Italy
2
Di.S.Sal. Department of Health Sciences, IRCCS Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria San Martino-IST, Genoa 16132, Italy
3
Department of Health Sciences, University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza 20900, Italy
4
Pediatric Highly Intensive Care Unit, Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation, Università Degli Studi di Milano, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan 20122, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 28 January 2016 / Revised: 8 April 2016 / Accepted: 11 April 2016 / Published: 13 April 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [271 KB, uploaded 13 April 2016]

Abstract

Worldwide, 500 million people a year acquire a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Adolescents, accounting for 25% of the sexually active population, are the most affected. To analyze sexual behavior among Italian adolescents and their knowledge of STDs, with the goal of preventing their transmission, a questionnaire was administered to 2867 secondary school students (1271 males and 1596 females) aged 14–21 years. For the study, 1492 students were interviewed in Genoa (Northern Italy) and 1375 in Lecce (Southern Italy). For 37% of the respondents, parents and teachers were the main source of information on sex, and 95% believed that school should play the primary role in sex education. However, only 9% considered the sex education they received in school good. Noteworthy, only 0.5% of the teenagers recognized the sexually transmitted diseases from a list of diseases, and 54% of them did not know what a Pap test was. Confusion about the meaning of contraception and prevention was evident; only 22% knew that condoms and abstinence are the only methods for preventing STDs. Finally, a consistent number of students are exposed to risk factors for STDs transmission; e.g., alcohol and recreational drug use, promiscuity and improper condom use. On the basis of our study, there is an urgent need for the introduction of sex education as a proper subject in Italian schools. View Full-Text
Keywords: sexually transmitted diseases; sexual behaviour; adolescents; sex education; sexual health sexually transmitted diseases; sexual behaviour; adolescents; sex education; sexual health
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Drago, F.; Ciccarese, G.; Zangrillo, F.; Gasparini, G.; Cogorno, L.; Riva, S.; Javor, S.; Cozzani, E.; Broccolo, F.; Esposito, S.; Parodi, A. A Survey of Current Knowledge on Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Sexual Behaviour in Italian Adolescents. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 422.

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