National trends in sexual intercourse and usage of contraception among Korean adolescents.

World journal of pediatrics : WJP

BACKGROUND: The exact influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on sexual intercourse and usage of contraception remains largely uncharted territory. To bridge this gap in knowledge, we conducted a comprehensive, cross-sectional examination of long-term trends in the prevalence of sexual intercourse and usage of contraception among South Korean adolescents from 2006 to 2022.METHODS: In our research, we drew upon data encompassing 1,138,799 South Korean adolescents aged 12 to 18 years, derived from the Korean Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey (KYRBS) over a period spanning from 2006 to 2022. We focused on the prevalence of sexual intercourse, contraception utilization, and the underlying associated factors among this demographic. The KYRBS data was collected using a complex sampling strategy to determine the national prevalence estimates and shifts in prevalence before (2006-2019) and during (2020-2022) the COVID-19 pandemic era.RESULTS: During the pre-pandemic period, a decrease in adolescent sexual intercourse was observed (6.34% in 2006, 5.53% in 2012, and 5.87% in 2019). However, in the post-pandemic period (2020-2022), there was a surge in sexual intercourse (4.55% in 2020 and 6.20% in 2022). This evident alteration in sexual intercourse trajectory between pre- and post-pandemic periods was statistically significant [β, 0.950; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.756-1.144]. Regarding contraceptive use among South Korean adolescents, there was an increase in the pre-COVID-19 pandemic phase across all demographic segments (14.61% in 2006, 22.30% in 2012, and 47.69% in 2022) but a notable decline when compared with the pre- and post-pandemic periods (β, - 0.319; 95% CI, - 0.454 to - 0.184). Additionally, during the study period, a decrease in sexual intercourse was observed in the pre-pandemic period (β, - 0.129; 95% CI, - 0.148 to - 0.110), followed by an increase in the post-pandemic period (β, 0.821; 95% CI, 0.627 to 1.014). This shift is highlighted by an effect size of 0.96 [weighted odds ratio (wOR); 95% CI, 0.92 to 1.00], indicating a substantial change in adolescent sexual behaviors across study periods.CONCLUSIONS: The increase in sexual intercourse and decrease in usage of contraception observed in our study between the pre- and post-COVID-19 periods suggests a potential threat to sexual health among South Korean adolescents. This trend emphasizes the ongoing necessity of raising awareness about adolescent sexual behavior in South Korea.

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World journal of pediatrics : WJP
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