Background: As teenagers have easy access to both radio programs and cell phones, the current study used these tools so that young people could anonymously identify questions about sex and other related concerns in the urban environment of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The purpose of this healthcare intervention was to identify and address concerns raised by young people, which are related to sexual health, and which promote youth health. Methods: This healthcare intervention was conducted over a six month period and consisted of a survey carried out in Kinshasa. This focused on 14 to 24 old young people using phone calls on a radio program raising concerns related to sexuality. The radio program was jointly run by a journalist and a health professional who were required to reply immediately to questions from young people. All sexual health concerns were recorded and analyzed. Results: Forty programs were broadcast in six months and 1,250 messages and calls were recorded: 880 (70%) from girls and 370 (30%) from boys, which represents an average of 32 interventions (of which 10 calls and 22 messages) per broadcast. Most questions came from 15-19- and 20-24-year-old girls and boys. Focus of girls’ questions: menstrual cycle calculation and related concerns accounted for the majority (24%); sexual practices (16%), love relationships (15%) and virginity (14%). Boys’ concerns are masturbation (and its consequences) (22%), sexual practices (19%), love relationships (18%) and worries about penis size (10%). Infections (genital and STI) and topics regarding HIV represent 9% and 4% of the questions asked by girls against 7% and 10% by boys. Concerns were mainly related to knowledge, attitudes and competences to be developed. Conclusions: Concerns and sexual practices raised by teens about their sexual and emotional life have inspired the design of a practical guide for youth self-training and have steered the second phase of this interactive program towards supporting their responsible sexuality.
Archives of Public Health 2014, 72:21
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