MediAngels.com – the World’s First Online Hospital, today published findings of a study on reproductive health amongst Indian adolescents and found an alarming 4.9 per cent rise in sexually transmitted infections, just in the last four years. This is particularly worrisome, as our country has the highest world-over youth population (over 356 million individuals in the age group of 10-24 years), who run a grave risk of contracting STDs. In fact, the study estimated that one out of every three individuals (31 per cent), suffering from AIDS in India – is an adolescent.
The study was conducted amongst 21467 individuals, half of them from the top ten cities as and the other half belonging to small towns of the country. The main objective was to determine indicators and drivers of sexuality and STDs amongst urban young adults; the first and most crucial step in resolving the age-old taboo around them.
The study clarified that individuals are increasingly exposed to sexual experiences at an early age. In the ages 10-24, over 6.5 per cent boys and over 1.3 per cent girls reported to have had intercourse at least once. It was also found that the average age of such sexual contact was low at 13.72 years for girls and 14.09 years for boys. The average age for first intercourse was 15.25 years for boys and 16.66 years for girls.
“People are becoming sexually active at a younger age. In the earlier days, the age at which people got married was 14-15 or at the most 18-19 years. At that time, there was nothing to stimulate their sexual desires; no television or internet. However now, the average marrying age is higher – maybe around 30 years. Therefore, people indulge in sex at an earlier age, to experiment. Also, at the age of 13-15 years release of sexual hormones such as Testosterone develops attraction amongst individuals for the opposite sex,” says Dr. Paras Shah, a well-known Sexologist & a Panel Specialist on MediAngels.com.
Experts at MediAngels.com opine that it is time India opens up and reaches out for expert opinion on reproductive well-being. “Reproductive health is unnecessarily made a matter of embarrassment or shame, for a person to disclose a condition or willingly seek medical help,” says Dr. Debraj Shome, Founder, MediAngels.com & a reputed Facial Plastic Surgeon. “Since those seeking opinion are so few, even doctors don’t find a profession in sexology very enticing. Isn’t it strange that in a country that is 1.2 billion strong, and has over 7 lakh qualified doctors – there are less than 1000 sexology experts?” he questions.
The case is worse with youngsters. They hardly approach qualified doctors for help in cases of reproductive wellness, easily assuming that the internet offers good enough information. Over 74.9 per cent respondents admitted that they derived their knowledge from friends, while only about 4.15 per cent of them spoke to their doctors about it. This clearly indicates how sex is often perceived as an activity of excitement and thrill, but sexual health is never a distinct priority.
According to a global WHO finding, over 2.5 million adolescents undergo unsafe abortion procedures, and face the hazard of complication. Even if they escape immediate crises, they face severe, lasting hormonal and gynecological complications. Adolescents also have a 50 per cent higher risk of stillbirths, in comparison to those between the ages 20 and 29 years. Dr. Uma Vaidyanathan, a top Gynecologist & Obstetrician and a Panel Specialist on MediAngels.com, says, “Underage pregnancies are very prevalent these days. Every single day I get to see such patients in my practice. It is extremely unsafe & dangerous. Lot of easy exposure to internet, pornographic websites has led to teenagers indulging in unsafe sex. Also, lack of sexual awareness is contributing to it.
Questioning why, it is that individuals do not approach doctors for sexual health threw light on some interesting points. 51 per cent respondents strongly felt that their doctors and other medical staff would be judgmental or hostile about such an enquiry. 22 per cent presumed that medical procedures weren’t safe, while another 15 per cent had concerns over privacy and confidentiality.
Dr. Sandip Deshpande, a world renowned Sexologist & a Panelist on MediAngels.com & sexologyconsultant.com says, “In the domain of sexual education & health, it is not just sex education; the real key is relationship & sex education. It is important to emphasize on the preventive aspects of sexual awareness that includes relationship & sexual education. As a sexual counselor, I come across teenage pregnancy cases, as my gynecologist friends refer them to me. Teenage pregnancy has a lot of psychological implications on both parents & children. These psychological implications are the most critical part to deal with. I really feel that more of sexual awareness should be created so that such cases can be avoided.”
Meeting the need of the hour and to enable access to unbiased, non-judgmental and trustworthy expert medical opinion on sexual health and wellness, MediAngels.com has launched a dedicated website called www.SexologyConsultant.com. “This data is very interesting. It demonstrates that the average Indian is becoming more experimental with sexuality. So, on one hand, more people are having sex early and on the other, we in India are reticent to talk about it, discuss it, educate our youth about it and seek professional guidance on it. Sex remains a taboo topic amongst Indians. That is where we have to be discerning. We have to find mechanisms to educate our youth about safe sexual practices. The internet and online sexology consultants with the best sexologists can achieve just that – The best knowledge from the best doctors, in the privacy of your home!” says Dr. Shome.
“Also, if we don’t take care, the combination of increased and early sexual experimentation and decreased awareness and knowledge, could have us sitting on a volcano of underage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS. We must admit that our youngsters are trying to gain sexual knowledge from internet pornography – which is highly inappropriate and very easily misleads them. That doesn’t mean we do not provide any education at all. The government needs to recognize that we need more sexual education and not less, to keep our country safe from the perils of the sexual explosion we are seeing,” he adds.
MediAngels.com is the world’s first online hospital. With a network of over 350 medical experts handpicked from across the world, MediAngels.com delivers quality healthcare and second opinion at the click of a button. The platform offers patients access to qualified, trustworthy super-specialists for any ailment, anytime of the day in the comfort of home, securely. MediAngels.com constantly enriches patient’s experience as a healthcare consumer by adopting new and innovative technologies.Www.MediAngels.com is an online consultation and medical second opinion provider, funded by top venture capital firms and the Government of India. MediAngels also runs a website dedicated to online sexology consultations with the best sexologists in the world, www.sexologyconsultant.com