Knowledge of contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases and contraceptive practices amongst young people in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Health Care Women Int. 2006 May;27(5):399-417. doi: 10.1080/07399330600629542.


In this article, we examine knowledge of contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and contraceptive practices amongst young Vietnamese people. We conducted a qualitative study on sexuality and abortion with young people in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Twelve female and 4 male young people were individually interviewed using an in-depth interview technique. We found that condoms and pills were contraceptives known by almost all young people, but their knowledge of condoms and pills was still inadequate. Fears of side effects of taking pills and rumors and beliefs regarding condoms were quite common among young people. The limitations in young people's knowledge of contraceptives and STDs were a reflection of limited sources of their knowledge. Sexual education provided by educational institutions and within families was very basic. It did not provide clear knowledge on the sensitive topics such as contraceptive methods, and other issues related to sexuality for unmarried people. From a gender perspective, there are two points to note here: While sex issues were discussed openly among unmarried men, most unmarried women felt uncomfortable or expressed difficulty when talking about these issues; and the passiveness of unmarried women in making the decision of using condoms as well as contraceptives was marked. Amongst young people, the use of contraceptives was based mainly on ineffective methods including withdrawal and periodic abstinence. Further, young people's understanding of these methods was neither clear nor adequate. For the young people who did not use any contraceptives, sexual relations occurred unexpectedly. We conclude that creating a climate in which sexual issues can be discussed openly is an important step for the improvement of sexual health for young people. This will inevitably improve knowledge and understanding of contraceptives and STDs and may lead to a safer sexual life among this group of young people.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contraception / psychology*
  • Contraception Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Narration
  • Sex Education / organization & administration*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Sexual Partners*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vietnam