Vulnerability and sexual and reproductive health among Zambian secondary school students

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The present study aimed to explore secondary school students' needs in relation to sexual and reproductive health in order to inform efforts to improve the quality of health services available to young people. The study involved data collection from 716 11-22-year-old students in four secondary schools in an urban area in Zambia. Students completed a questionnaire and were invited to write down any inquiries they had regarding sexuality and reproduction. Findings revealed that boys and girls lack adequate information about human reproduction and STIs, including HIV. To avoid misconceptions and myths, they also need clear information on contraceptives and masturbation. Responses indicate that young people would welcome guidance and support related to contraception, pregnancy, abortion and STIs/HIV, but also on love and relationships. Culture, religion and gender are important factors influencing sexuality and sexual abuse. These issues need to be taken into consideration when developing youth-friendly programmes for young people.


  • Linnea Warenius
  • Karen Odberg Pettersson
  • Eva Nissen
  • Bengt Höjer
  • Petronella Chishimba
  • Elisabeth Faxelid
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health


  • religion, Zambia, culture, young people, sexual and reproductive health
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-544
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch