A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, sought out to examine the risk factors of young girls dating older men, in relation to their chances of contracting STD’s. The study compared young girls who were with older partners, to those who were with partners that were closer to their age. 738 women were studied. All participants were “sexually active, urban, adolescent girls aged 15-19” years of age.
The study concluded that the risks were significantly increased for the girls who had older sexual partners. The adolescent girls “with older partners had more episodes of sexual instances (vaginal, anal and oral)” as well as an increase in “sexual risk behaviors”. It was also discovered that the girls who had partners that were older than them, also “started having sex at earlier ages, had more lifetime sexual partners, higher incidents of STIs and were reluctant to discuss using condoms with their partners. This was a significant difference from the girls who dated partners that were closer to their own age, and potentially less experienced. The group of girls who dated people similar to their age, were “less willing to engage in risky sexual behaviors”.
The conclusive evidence within this study “support[s] data from other studies”, that illustrated how young adolescent girls are at “signiﬁcant risk of heterosexual-acquired HIV infection and other long-term reproductive health issues”. The basis for this conclusion is that participating in sexual activity with older partners “has been correlated with STI’s, lack of protection, multiple partners and earlier age of sexual transition”. Young girls who date older partners, not only increase their risk of contracting HIV or an STI, they are also more likely to get pregnant unintentionally. The study has indicated the severity of this issue in the medical field, since girls in with older partners tend to have long term sexual health issues.
For health professionals and medical clinics, the data revealed within these studies will aid health workers in determining the proper course of actions when dealing with sexually active young women. The study’s evidence will help medical professionals to identify at-risk youth and to tailor specific treatments for women who fall into this category.
Nurses will learn how to effectively deal with these particular girls in a way that can assist them in any concerns that they are facing, as well as “provide age-specific counselling”. Many of these women may simply be unaware of the increased dangers they face when in a relationship with an older male partner. Spreading the awareness and keeping young girls informed about issues surrounding their sexual health, can potentially reduce the risks of negative consequences.
The Journal of Clinical Nursing; Adolescent and Female Sexuality