Sexual Health in Adolescents: A study in unplanned adolescent pregnancies and the correlation with sexual education in Sonora, Mexico
In Mexico, the female adolescent population is made up from two groups, single women and married or cohabitating women. Throughout the past decade there has been an increase in the fertility rate amongst the adolescent population in the state of Sonora. Several factors were analyzed to determine their impact on adolescent fertility rate and unplanned pregnancies but ultimately it was found that sexual education was the most influential factor. Comprehensive sexual education has been found to decrease the number of adolescent pregnancies in schools or cities where that curriculum is taught. Many experts believe that this occurs because adolescents are better educated in the proper usage of contraception. Increased contraceptive use directly causes a decrease in unplanned pregnancy rate. With respect to Mexico, it was found that comprehensive sexual education is taught in Sonora but there is no standardized program. Few institutions provide comprehensive sexual education and the programs range between a level 0 and level 3 with respect to the strictness of the abstinence only curricula. Four interviews were conducted between December of 2013 and March of 2014. The purpose of the interviews was to gain a better understanding about how sexual education is perceived in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico and what sort of programs are available to adolescents. The questions that comprised the interview consisted of three general parts: background, demographics and sexual education. The interviewees were selected based on their level of expertise reproductive health among adolescents. Two programs were selected for research: Programa Gente Joven (PGJ) and Vive Prevenido. Based on research and data analysis several conclusions were reached. The average age a Mexican woman first has sex, gets married and has her first child within less than 5 years starting in their adolescence. Many years pass between the age of a woman's first childbirth and when she first uses contraception. This is caused by an unmet or unsatisfied need for contraception where the national level is higher than that of Sonora. With respect to sexual education the Guttmacher Institute data suggests that comprehensive sexual education is more effective than abstinence only education. And finally, the experts interviewed all agreed that comprehensive sexual education is what should be taught on a state wide level. The views and opinions of these four interviewees do not reflect those of all who work with adolescents. To gain a more generalized idea on the situation surrounding unplanned pregnancies in adolescents more interviews would need to be conducted. This project was purely exploratory and does not aim to analyze or evaluate either program.