Adolescent Sexual Health Behavior in Thailand : Implications for Prevention of Cervical Cancer


Since adolescents are now engaging in sexual activity in their early years, sexual behavior needs to be explored toprevent contact with HPVs and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD), including cervical cancer. This qualitativestudy aimed to explore this question from adolescents’ view points in their natural context. The participants were 19individuals aged 13-19 years living in rural families in Khon Kaen province, Thailand. The preliminary findingsindicated that factors contributing to low sexual risk behavior were helping family to do housework, an emphasis onlearning, listening to parents, and following their advice. Adolescent behavior leading to high sexual risk includedbeing very close to friends, having a wide social circle, going out for enjoyment at night time, returning home late atnight, drinking alcohol, smoking, paying less attention to learning, not listening to parents, and not following theiradvice. Adolescent sexual behavior was found to comprise: 1) sexual activities themselves; 2) non-disclosure ofhaving sex; and 3) protective behavior. Sexual activities were ranked from low risk to high risk of sexual health.Low risk included having a steady boy/girlfriend, hugging, and kissing. High risk sexual behavior featured unprotectedsex, abuse or rape, and abortion. Important influences were: eagerness to learn and try to have sex, mens’ sexualdesire, peer group value of having sex, and material value. The adolescents demonstrated no willingness to disclosehaving a boy/girl friend, having sex and negative consequences like becoming pregnant. Sexual protective behaviorwas up to males, whether they were willing to use a condom, with females having little power to negotiate. The studysuggests that inappropriate adolescent risk behavior and social values need to be a focus of attention for education.In particular, families need to take action by early detection of adolescent sexual risk behavior.