10% of young women aged 15-24 had first sexual encounter before age 15 – GSS

10% of young women aged 15-24 had first sexual encounter before age 15 - GSS

The recently published 2022 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey by the (GSS) has revealed worrisome trends in the sexual initiation of young women, raising concerns about potential long-term implications for their well-being.

The report indicates that 10% of young women aged 15-24 had their first sexual encounter before the age of 15, a troubling statistic when compared to the 8% observed among their male counterparts. This data has shown consistency since 2014 when the prevalence of early sexual debut among young women rose from 8% in 2008 to the current 10%.

Moreover, the survey highlighted that 48% of women and 34% of men aged 18–24 experienced their initial sexual encounter before turning 18.

Godwin Odei Gyebi, the Acting Director of Demography at the Ghana Statistical Service, expressed concern over the findings, stating, “The proportion of women aged 15–24 who had sexual intercourse before age 15 increased from 8% in 2008 to 11% in 2014 and then remained relatively unchanged at 10% in 2022. Similarly, the proportion among young men increased from 4% in 2008 to 9% in 2014 and remained relatively unchanged in 2022 (8%).”

The report advocates for the use of condoms during sexual intercourse to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies, prevalent issues within this demographic. The findings shed light on the importance of addressing early sexual initiation and implementing strategies to safeguard the well-being of young women in Ghana.

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