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Arch Hellen Med, 29(6), November-December 2012, 710-719


Sexual behavior and contraceptive use among Greek nursing students

T. Konstantinidis,1 N. Skandalaki,2 E. Tzagaraki,3 M. Linardakis4
1Faculty of Nursing, Technological Educational Institute of Crete, Heraklion,
2Department of Oncology and Hematology, "Venizeleio" Hospital of Heraklion,
3Department of Blood Bank, University General Hospital of Heraklion, Heraklion,
4Department of Sοcial Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece

OBJECTIVE To investigate the patterns and characteristics of sexual behavior, including first sexual intercourse (FSI) and the use of contraceptive methods among university nursing students.

METHOD During the period 2009−2011, 358 first-year nursing students (15.1% males, 84.9% females) completed a self-administered structured questionnaire, comprising 17 questions on sexual behavior. Data analysis was performed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) v. 19.0.

RESULTS The majority of participants (n=270, 76.5%) reported having already had sexual intercourse (84.6% males, 75.1% females, p=0.134). The mean age at FSI was 16.9±1.4 years (males 16.7±1.7 and females 17.0±1.3 years, p=0.172), and 28 (10.7%) participants reported FSI at 13−15 years. Older students (26−43 years) were significantly more likely to have had their FSI in adulthood than younger students (17−18 years) (71.4% versus 13.1%, p<0.001). Regarding other characteristics of sexual behavior, 61.7% of participants reported that their sexual partner was older and 34.1% of similar age. Significantly more males than females reported that their FSI was a one-night stand (43.2% versus 0.5%, p<0.001). In addition, 38.6% of males, compared with 11.3% of females reported involvement with 3 or more sexual partners during the last year (p<0.001), although a higher percentage of females had 2 sexual partners. The majority (96.5%) of sexually active participants used the male condom as the main method of contraception during both their FSI and intercourse during the last year (92%).

CONCLUSIONS These findings confirm earlier research reporting a gradual lowering in age at FSI in Greece during the last years. Use of contraceptive methods was high in this sample, particularly the male condom, which potentially also protects these young people from sexually transmitted diseases and other risks. Education and health promotion programmes on sexual behavior are nevertheless necessary in order to improve sexual health, starting at an earlier age, probably during the last classes of primary school.

Key words: Adolescents, Condom, Contraception, Sexual behavior, University students.

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