ISSUES ADDRESSED: This study was conducted to describe the sexual risk behaviours of youth within the Pacific Island nations of Vanuatu, Tonga and the Federated States of Micronesia. METHODS: General health behaviour surveys were conducted with youth aged 15-19 years and not attending school in the three countries. A sample of 390 Ni-Vanuatu youth from the Shefa Province, 934 youth from three island provinces of Tonga and 92 youth from Pohnpei, the main island of the four island states of the Federated States of Micronesia, were interviewed in gender-specific groups. Questions were asked about sexual behaviours that may contribute to unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). RESULTS: Moderate to high percentages of youth were sexually active (had a least one sexual partner) in the Pacific island nations of Vanuatu (49.7%), Tonga (35.5%) and the Federated States of Micronesia (76.1%). Young men were more likely to engage in sexually risky behaviour than young women. They were more likely to be sexually active, have had multiple sexual partners and have had sex when drunk or high. Of those sexually active, more young men than women in Vanuatu (36.1% compared with 30.6%) and Micronesia (54.2% compared with 50%) never used protection against STIs. However, of the sexually active Tongan youth, the proportion of females (61.1%) who reported never using protection against STIs was nearly double the proportion reported by Tongan males (32.2%). CONCLUSION: A high percentage of young people not attending school in the Pacific island nations of Vanuatu, Tonga and the Federated States of Micronesia are at risk of unintended pregnancy and STIs, including HIV, because of patterns of sexual risk behaviour.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Health promotion journal of Australia : official journal of Australian Association of Health Promotion Professionals|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2005|