Sexual health knowledge in a vulnerable population: A survey of adolescents in the bateyes of la Romana, Dominican Republic

Christopher Russell, Daniel Martinez, Brendan Wong, Julianne Zandberg, Henry Lin, Jazmin Marlinga, Lawrence Loh

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Abstract

Objective: Undocumented Haitian migrants to the Dominican Republic often live in impoverished communities called bateyes. These contexts present challenges for adolescent sexual health education. To inform development of appropriate adolescent education programs, this study assessed their general sexual health knowledge. Methods: A locally developed sexual health knowledge survey was administered to 930 grade 7-12 adolescents attending six batey schools. Analysis of aggregated responses reviewed general demographics (e.g. age and sex), and identified top community sexual health concerns and most trusted information sources. Results: Top concerns included menstruation (25.5%), HIV (21.8%), and family planning (13.3%); stratification by sex identified discordance around menstruation (89.2% female, 10.8% male) and HIV (67.1% male, 32.9% female), but not family planning (47.2% male, 52.8% female). Parents were identified as the most trusted information source, irrespective of concern. Conclusion: Community concerns around menstruation matches extant developing-world literature that links menarche with female stigma and school absence. Interest in HIV and family planning suggests targeted promoted efforts would be of benefit. Trust in parents is reflective of cultural traditions and suggests potential knowledge impacts arising from effective parental education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20150104
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health
Volume29
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • adolescent
  • needs assessment
  • sexual health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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