Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviour towards Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Turkish Cypriot Adolescents

Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviour towards Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Turkish Cypriot Adolescents

Article excerpt


Background: The incidence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is increasing among adolescents all around the world. There may be differences in knowledge and attitudes among different cultures and ethnic populations. The aim of this study is to determine knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of Turkish Cypriot adolescents related to STDs.

Objectives: To assess knowledge of STDs, attitudes towards sexual behaviour and STDs among the secondary school students.

Methods: Across sectional study, with a sample size of 423 students, was conducted by using a semi-structured questionnaire. Simple random sampling method was applied during the selection of the sample.

Results: The mean age of all participants was 15.61±1.22, 211 (49.88%) of them were male and 212 (50.12%) female. The majority of students (91.25%) stated that they had some knowledge about STDs; hovewer, 8.75% of the participants did not have any knowledge at all. Most of them, 42.32% described school as a source of information on STDs, nonetheless, only 7.57% of the group cited health care professionals as the information source. The majority of students (97.64%) has never been treated for STDs. Among 423 applicants, 93.14% indicated that they would have appreciated information about STDs during the high school years.

Conclusions: There is a general understanding that the students are willing to participate and are in need of seminars that will be held about STDs during high school attendance. Furthermore, awareness raising educational events on this matter should be reviewed and revised in order to come up with more powerful ways of fighting against STDs transmission in this young population group of Turkish Cypriot (TC) community.

Key words: sexually transmitted diseases, Cyprus, Turkish, adolescent, knowledge, behaviour


Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV are recognized as major public health issues in most of the industrialized world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in the mid 90's, 30 million curable sexually transmitted infections (syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis) occurred every year in North America and Western Europe, with additional 18 million cases in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (1, 2). STDs deserve attention not only because of their high prevalence but also because of frequently going undetected and untreated with consequential serious reproductive morbidity and mortality (3). Adolescence is a heterogeneous developmental period in terms of sexual behaviour and therefore increases the risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). However, adolescents have specific needs and challenges related to their well being both physically and mentally, in addition to problems such as unsafe environments, a lack of access to health information and poverty (1). Also, these conditions may vary according to the socioeconomic and cultural factors. In order to develop educational programmes and interventions to control the incidence of STD, local properties such as knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of the adolescents should be defined at first.

Cyprus is an island, located in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea, at the south of Turkey. There are mainly two communities living on the island, namely, Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. During the last 38 years, the island has been divided into two parts due to the conflict between the two communities. Since then, the northern part of the island has been ruled by its own government, which is only recognized by Turkey (4). This international isolation of newly formed government led to a lack of international educational activities among the Turkish Cypriots community. Turkish Cypriots are Muslims by religion and mostly live within the neighbourhood with British islanders. In addition to this, North Cyprus is one of the destinations for casino tourism and entertainment, alongside to its sunny beaches. …

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