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UCC Professor warns youth of dire consequences of alcohol-induced sex

June 13, 2023
UCC Professor warns youth of dire consequences of alcohol-induced sex
Professor Eugene Kufuor Maafo Darteh

Professor Eugene Kufuor Maafo Darteh, from the Department of Population and Health at the University of (), has issued a stern warning about the personal and social consequences of engaging in sexual activities under the influence of alcohol.

He expressed concern over the recent trend among Ghanaian youth, who are increasingly consuming assorted alcoholic beverages marketed as sex boosters.

According to Prof Darteh, the use of alcohol and related drugs for sexual purposes impairs judgment and leads individuals to neglect the use of contraceptives like condoms, leaving them vulnerable to Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Infections (STDs/STIs).

He stressed that the repercussions include a rise in STDs, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, and even deaths, placing a heavy burden on the healthcare system and the economy.

Speaking during his professorial inaugural address on the theme “Eating the Forbidden Fruits: Reflections on Risky Sexual Behaviours among Young Women in Ghana over the Last Three Decades,” Prof Darteh highlighted that despite efforts by traditional, religious, and legal systems to curb risky sexual behaviours among the youth, the issue remains a significant public health concern.

Apart from the use of alcohol, he noted that young people are also involved in early sexual activity, having multiple sexual partners, engaging in unprotected sex, age mixing (having relationships with older individuals), and early marriage.

Referring to data from the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, Prof Darteh pointed out that in 1988, 43.73% of young people aged 15 to 24 had engaged in sex before the age of 16, but this decreased to 27.8% in 2014.

However, he expressed alarm that 9.74% of the same age group had multiple sexual partners in 2003, which escalated to 63% in 2014. Additionally, condom usage was less than 6% in 1998, and by 2014, it was still less than 7%.

These figures indicate that young people are not consistently using condoms while being sexually active, having multiple partners, and engaging in relationships with individuals of different age groups.

Prof Darteh emphasized the urgent need to address these risky sexual behaviours, as they pose a threat to the pillars of health, well-being, and education in Ghana.

Failing to address these issues could hinder the achievement of (SDGs) One, two, three, four, and Five, which focus on poverty reduction, elimination of hunger, good health, quality education, and gender equality, respectively.

The professor called for the development of skills and potential among the future generation aged 15 to 24 to mitigate the prevalence of such risky sexual behaviours. He emphasized the importance of equipping young people with comprehensive sexual education and providing holistic services that cater to their physical and mental well-being.

Prof Darteh's achievements include his appointment as a lecturer at the Department of Geography and Tourism at UCC in 2007. He was later promoted to senior lecturer in 2013, associate professor in February 2018, and full professor in February 2021.

Throughout his tenure, he has published over 65 peer-reviewed journal articles in Scopus-indexed journals, authored a book chapter, and contributed to technical reports and modules.

He has also supervised and graduated numerous PhD holders, MPhil, and MA students while providing mentorship to young academics in academia, research, and industry.

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