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Average age of Kenyan women's first sexual encounter revealed in new report

Women in rural areas are exposed to sex earlier than those in urban settings.

A report by the International Centre for Reproductive Health, Kenya shows in urban centres, the average age at first sex is 18 years and two months, while in rural settings, it is 17 years and one month.

The report further discloses that women in urban centres have their first child when they’re aged around 21 years and nine months, while those in rural settings give birth at 20 years and five months.

The urban-dwelling women get married when they are aged around 22 years and five months while those in rural settings get married when they’re exactly 22 years.

Women in urban centres start using contraceptives when they are aged around 21 years and nine months, while those in rural settings start using contraceptives when they are 22 years and seven months old.

Fourteen (14) per cent of adolescents aged between 15 and 19 have started child bearing, with five per cent either married or are leaving with a man.

Four out of ten adolescents are either embarrassed or are too shy to start using family planning.

The report, which was released on April 21 in Nairobi, also shows that 60.8 per cent of married women in Kenya use contraceptives.

At the same time, 62.3 per cent of single women in Kenya use contraceptives.

On average, 46.2 per cent of Kenyan women have used some form of contraception.

Nandi County, as per a 2020 survey, leads in the use of contraceptives among married women. In 2019, it was Bungoma that took up the first position.

Between 2019 and 2020, Nairobi County reported the highest increase in contraceptive uptake.

The report also shows that five out of ten women alerted their spouses before enrolling for contraception.

Four out of ten women made the decision solely, without involving their spouses.

More women in rural settings (56 per cent) alerted their partners about contraceptive use, compared to 48 per cent of women in urban centres.

In Kenya, over the last six years, implants and injectable contraceptives have consistently been in better supply.

Fourteen (14) per cent of women could not meet their family planning needs, the report said.

Some 56 per cent of women said they were not given comprehensive information when receiving family planning services.

The report further shows that six out of ten girls aged between 15 and 19 engage in sex out of curiosity, and that 40 per cent of girls in this age bracket are sexually active.

Four out of ten in this age bracket use some form of contraception, while six have never used any contraceptive. Three out of ten adolescents said their sex partners used condoms.

Two out of ten adolescent girls said they started having sex after being pressurised by their peers, while one out of ten said they started engaging in sex because of abusing drugs.

Two out of five adolescents have had sex.

In the report, injectable contraceptives are the most popular method among married women at 41 per cent; implants (37 per cent), pills (8 per cent), sterilisation (5 per cent), male condoms (4 per cent) and intrauterine device (3 per cent).

Four per cent of married women said they use traditional contraception methods, which include periodic abstinence and withdrawal.

Forty-one (41) per cent of married women prefer injectable contraceptives compared to the other methods.

The study also found that 37 per cent of pregnancies were unintended, with 14 out of 100 women, who wanted to space their children, yet to adopt any form of contraception.

The research was conducted among respondents from 11 counties. The counties are Kilifi, Ktui, Nairobi, Kiambu, Kericho, Siaya, Nyamira, Bungoma, Kakamega, Nandi and West Pokot.

On average, the uptake of contraceptives has risen to 64 per cent in the last six years, said the International Centre for Reproductive Health, Kenya CEO Peter Gichagi.