A comparative study of patterns of sexual behavior among adolescents in internally displaced people's camps and normal settlements in Lira District
Okae, Patrick George
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This study compared the pattern of sexual behaviour among the adolescents living in internally displaced people’s camps and those living in normal settlements in Lira district. This was examined by the social demographic characteristics of the adolescents such as sex, education, age and religion. By virtue of their large numbers and their particular health risks, the reproductive health practices of young people, most especially the vulnerable adolescents in both IDPCs and normal settlements have an impact on their sexual activity. The study was designed to examine the sexual behaviours of adolescents in IDPCs vis-à-vis those in normal settlements in Lira district as a means of addressing the issue of adolescent camp lifestyle in Northern Uganda as compared with that of an adolescent in a normal settlement. The camps are characterised by lack of privacy, idleness, poverty, early initiation to adult roles, RH services and health education and alcoholism. The investigations were carried out using both quantitative and qualitative methods employing structured questionnaires administered to 384 adolescents on one hand and interview guides for resourceful persons (10 Key Informants) and four focus group discussions on the other hand. The findings indicate that of the 384 adolescents interviewed, 54.9% were found to have indulged in sexual intercourse of which 56% were from camps and 44% were from normal settlements. The adolescents in camps within a small range had more sexual partners, as compared to their counterparts in the normal settlements. The camp environment was found to encourage sexual activities by the adolescents. Information on HIV/AIDS, safe sex and hygiene appeared to be more available to adolescents in camps than in normal settlements. It was further established that the adolescents in normal settlements had a higher percentage of condom use as compared to their counterparts in camps. In conclusion, the camp environment was found to contribute to early sex among adolescents. Although information on HIV/AIDS had reached the adolescents, and they were willing to go for VCT, translating this into practice was not possible for camp adolescents due to lack of means of attaining their material needs. As a result of the above findings the study recommends that there should be restoration of peace in Northern Uganda to allow normal life to prevail. Information on safer sex needs to be passed using appropriate locally based channel like drama whose groups should be given material support. Straight Talk should be contextualised according to the local needs in order for it to be user friendly. In order to provide enough services, more health centres should be constructed in rural areas and adequately staffed with well-motivated health-workers.