Myths and misconceptions : exploring beliefs about pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in adolescents

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Nursing


The purpose of this professional project was to explore myths and misconceptions about sexual activity in adolescents. Adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are a significant problem worldwide and have been studied for many decades (Kirby, 2002). The burden of treating pregnancy and STD in the adolescent population affects all aspects of healthcare. Because of the magnitude of the problem, prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections among adolescents has become a national priority (McBride & Gienapp 2000). A review of literature was conducted focusing on education, current myths and misconceptions of sexual activity, STD and pregnancy. A survey was created based on the literature. The questions asked were pregnancy or STD related and focused on fertility, condom use, and STD transmission. A convenience sample of four female and three male adolescents aged 15-18 participated. Important preliminary results were provided by the survey. Survey results indicated a high number of incorrect responses. Questions regarding pregnancy were the most frequently missed while questions about STD were answered correctly by most participants. Sample size was small, so generalization is impossible. However, knowing that these adolescents had limited knowledge about pregnancy prevention and sexually transmitted diseases may encourage inclusion about these topics in future educational programs for adolescents.




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