Sexuality and behaviour of adolescents in relationship to sexually transmitted diseases in Libreville: a cross-sectional study

Nathalie L. Ambounda, Sylvain H. Woromogo, Felicite E. Yagata Moussa, Alain J. Kouanang, Vicky N. Simo Tekem


Background: The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a sexually transmitted infection (STI) as an infection that is transmitted during unprotected sexual intercourse. Indeed, the highest rates of STIs are usually found among young people aged 15 to 24. In Gabon, adolescents' knowledge of sexuality and STIs remains insufficient and early sexual intercourse is the most important factor favouring them. Improving adolescents' knowledge of sexuality education could influence their behaviour.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 1256 adolescents in schools in Libreville. Their socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge about STIs, the description of their sexuality and their behaviour towards STIs were obtained through ratings and frequencies. Authos calculated the overall average of adolescents on their knowledge of STIs. Odds ration were used to establish the link between the different variables.

Results: Adolescents reported knowledge of STIs (1163/1256). AIDS was the most frequently cited STI by 94.50% of adolescents. Sexual intercourse was the main route of STI transmission and was cited by 687 adolescents who estimated that they knew at least one mode of STI transmission. Almost all female and male adolescents had poor knowledge of STIs, with 98.2% and 98.8% respectively. 84.96% of those with a sexual partner had ever had sex. More than half of sexually active adolescents had multiple partners.

Conclusions: Adolescents have a poor overall knowledge of STIs. Sexual risk behaviour remains very high, regardless of gender. To contain the scourge, awareness campaigns using all the means of communication at our disposal and especially the media.


Adolescents, Behaviour, Sexuality, Sexually transmitted infections

Full Text:



Dehne KL, Riedner G. Sexually transmitted infections amoung adolescents: the need for adequate health services. WHO, Geneva; 2004.

HIV and STI prevention among young people. CRIPS Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, 2015. Bulletin Officiel du Ministère de l'Education nationale, 2010. Available at: http: // Accessed on 12th March 2020.

Grondin C, Duron S, Robin F, Verret C, Imbert P. Adolescents’ knowledge and behavior on sexuality, infectious transmitted diseases, and humain papillomavirus vaccination: results of a survey in a French high school. Arch Pediatr. 2013;20(8):845-52.

Vierin Nzame Y, Mimbila Mayi M, Essomeyo P, Moussavou A. Sexually transmitted infections in schooled adolescents in Libreville. Arch Pediatr. 2013;20(5):562-3.

Mimbila-Mayi M, Nzame Vierin Y, Biloghe AS, Moussavou A. Knowledge and behaviour of adolescents in sexual health in Gabon. Clin Mother Child Health. 2011;8(1):3.

Some DT, Some DA, Hien H, Diallo R, Zingue D, Diallo I, et al. Sexual and reproductive health of adolescent girls in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso: the role of parent-adolescent communication for risk reduction. Pan Afr Med J. 2012;11:65.

Lerais I, Durant ML, Gardella F, Hofliger P, Pradier C, Giordanengo V, et al. Survey on the knowledge, opinions and behaviour of high school students around human papilloma virus (HPV), France, Alpes-Maritimes, 2009. BEH. 2010;11:97-100.

Cissé CT. Study of adolescents' knowledge, attitudes and practices in schools on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the Commune of Bamako District. 2013. Available at: Accessed on 15th March 2020.

Foumane P, Chiabi A, Kamdem C, Monebenimp F, Sama Dohbit J, Enow Mbu R. Sexual activity of adolescent school girls in an urban secondary school in Cameroon. J Reprod Infertil. 2013;14(2):85-9.

Glasier A, Gülmezoglu AM, Schmid GP, Moreno CG, Van Look PF. Sexual and reproductive health: a matter of life and death. Lancet. 2006;368:1595-607.

Valois RF, Oeltmann JE, Waller J, Hussey JR. Relationship between number of sexual intercourse partners and selected health risk behaviors among public high school adolescents. J Adolesc Health. 1999;25(5):328-35.

Lema VM, Hassan MA. Knowledge of sexually transmitted diseases, HIV infection and AIDS among sexually active adolescents in Nairobi, Kenya and its relationship to their sexual behaviour and contraception. East Afr Med J. 1994;71(2):122-8.

Minet TH, Jing M, Guilan G, Berhe TH, Eyasu HT. Predictors of high HIV/AIDS risk sexual behaviors: comparison study among Cameroonian and Gabonese youthaAged 15-24 years. J HIV Retrovirus. 2017;3(1):1-11.

Godeau E, Gabhainn SN, Vignes C, Ross J, Boyce W, Todd J. Contraceptive use by 15-years-old students at their last sexual intercourse. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162(1):66-73.

Richter DL, Valois RF, McKeown RE, Vincent ML. Correlates of condom use and number of sexual partners among high school adolescents. J Sch Health. 1993;63(2):91-6.

Adohinzin CC, Meda N, Belem AM, Ouédraogo GA, Sombie I, Berthe A, et al. Risk assessment in young people living in Bobo Dioulasso: analysis of factors associated with sexual precocity and multiple partners. Pan Afr Med J. 2016;25:132.

Berg CJ, Lowe K, Stratton E, Goodwin SB, Grimsley L, Rodd J, et al. Sociodemographic, psychosocial and health behavior risk factors associated with sexual risk behaviors amoung Southeastern US college students. Open J Prev Med. 2014;4(1):387-95.