The Effect of Sexual Literacy on Adolescent Pregnancy in Colombia

J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2020 Feb;33(1):72-82. doi: 10.1016/j.jpag.2019.09.005. Epub 2019 Sep 24.


Study objective: In the present study we investigated the association between receiving information on sexual literacy topics and likelihood of experiencing adolescent pregnancy.

Design: Cross-sectional analysis.

Setting: Colombia.

Participants: Female Adolescents, 13-19 years old (N = 8525).

Main outcome measures: Our primary outcome of interest was adolescent pregnancy.

Results: We created a gradation of public health impact variable that ranged from grade 1 (least impactful) to grade 4 (most impactful) to determine which sexuality-related topics were most strongly associated with teenage pregnancy. We found that not receiving information on grade 4 topics had the strongest association with adolescent pregnancy. These topics were: changes related to puberty (prevalence ratio [PR], 2.15; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.40-3.30), how sex organs work (PR, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.37-2.66), and sexual orientation (PR, 1.84; 95% CI, 1.38-2.44). In fact, teenagers who did not receive information on any sexuality-related topic were approximately 75% more likely (PR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.09-2.74) to experience pregnancy during adolescence.

Conclusion: The gradation levels of this study could guide sexual education programs in Colombia to prioritize sexuality-related themes, especially when resources are limited.

Keywords: Adolescent pregnancy; Colombia; Latin America; Sexual literacy; Teen pregnancy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Colombia / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Literacy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / psychology
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Reproductive Health / education*
  • Sex Education / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data