Reproductive health of medical students: exploring knowledge, experiences, and behaviors
Introduction: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) along with unintended pregnancies, gender-based violence, and gender inequality represent a serious risk to reproductive health in adolescent age. Comprehensive Sexual Education (CSE) plays a central role among public health interventions designed to prepare young people for these challenges. The aim of our research was to examine knowledge, experience, and behaviors regarding reproductive and sexual health among the population of medical students, as well as the possible connection between reproductive health, information, and study success.
Material and methods: A total of 186 second-year and 214 fifth-year medical students were included in the study as a convenient sample taken by random selection. We used a questionnaire of the World Health Organization designed for adolescent sexual and reproductive health. Data were analyzed with the IMB SPSS 25 software.
Results: For the second-year students, primary source of information about sex are conversations with their family and friends (37.6%), while for the fifth-year students it is the faculty curriculum (34.7%). Students with personal experience of STIs showed higher average level of knowledge about STIs and reproductive health (p=0.011). Significant positive correlation between the average grade and the level of knowledge about reproductive health was found (r=0.150; p=0.03).
Conclusion: This study has shown the diverse sexual life of young medical students in Serbia, combined with risky habits and attitudes, also similarly represented in the world. Further research is needed in order to formulate public health policies adjusted to the needs of the Serbian youth.
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