Background: Despite the availability of different health care initiatives and interventions, young people are still faced with barriers in accessing reproductive health care services; thus, they are exposed to health-related issues such as sexually transmitted infections. Aim: To determine the awareness, utilization and perceptions about sexually transmitted infections services provided to out-of-school-youth in primary health facilities in the Tshwane district, Gauteng Province, South Africa. Methods: The study employed a quantitative, cross-sectional descriptive survey with a sample size of 219 to determine the level of awareness, utilization and perceptions about sexually transmitted infections services provided to out-of-school-youth in Tshwane district. Results: Out-of-school-youth between the ages of 18–24 years participated in the study. Most of the participants (90.8%, n = 199) were female. Service utilization was high in females compared to their male counterparts. There is availability of youth-friendly services in primary health care facilities, however, the level of service utilization among young people is still a challenge evidenced by 12.1% (n = 74) of participants who never sought treatment for STIs, although they had STI symptoms. Furthermore, 52.0% reported that they were not happy with the health services they received when they had STIs. These findings clearly indicate a gap in service delivery for young people regarding reproductive health issues; thus, the low health care seeking behavior among the youth. Condom use was 69.1% and/or inconsistently used among the youth; about 80% of the participants had low perceptions of the risk of contracting STIs. The self-reported risks of HIV and AIDS was 46.8%. Approximately 20% reported that they would not refuse to have sex if their partner did not want to use condoms. These findings showed risky behavior among the participants, and shows that the level of awareness about the risk of contracting STIs is still poor. Conclusions: Irrespective of facilities with youth-friendly services, out-of-school-youth still display poor perceptions about sexually transmitted infections services due to health care providers’ attitudes, limited resources, and working hours. Furthermore, the level of awareness regarding sexually transmitted infections is poor, hence the display of risky sexual behaviors.
|Journal||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 2023|
- sexually transmitted infections