Mumbai: Bolstering the immense need of sex education in the country, a study revealed that Indian teens are not only sexually active at a younger age than before, they are contracting sexually transmitted infections in numbers higher than before.
A new survey, based on interviews of 15,000-odd teens between 13 and 19 from 20 cities including the metros, revealed that around 8.9% gave a history suggestive of sexually transmitted infection at least once. The average age of first sexual contact for boys was 13.72 years and 14.09 years for girls.
“This is alarming considering that it’s more than double the STD/HIV incidence reported for this age group in the Naco (National AIDS Control Organization) annual report of 2011-12,” said Dr Debraj Shome of MediAngels.com, a city-based e-healthcare company funded by the Union department of science and technology, which conducted the survey.
“Among those surveyed, over 6.3% boys and over 1.3% girls reported to have had intercourse at least once. The average age at first intercourse in those who had it was 14 years for boys and 16 years for girls,” it added. The National Family Health Survey 3, which came out in 2006, said that young people aged between 15 and 24 commonly engage in premarital sex; more men (15-22%) than women (1-6%).
Although there are instances of date rapes and molestation, there is also a new trend of girls willing to experiment,” she said, adding that the number of girls coming with complaints that their boyfriends coerced them into having sex has fallen.
Experts say it’s time the youth received information from the right channels—parents, teachers and doctors—instead of online pornography. Bhonsale said sex education must be “age appropriate, value based and culture specific” and Dhanu said it should be integrated in the school curriculum. Watsa added that there also is a need to educate parents who could get alarmed that their child is learning something at school that they were not exposed to.