Coitarche and care: does experience of the 'looked after' system affect timing of a woman's sexual debut?


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Abstract

Summary:Women with an early coitarche may be less connected to home than those with a later coitarche and are more at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Children in care or the 'looked after' system feel less connected.We investigated whether women ever in care (WEIC) differed from women never in care (WNIC) in terms of coitarche and STIs using self-reported data from women attending Genitourinary Medicine clinics.Of the 336 women participating 17 women had experienced care, of whom 13 (76.5%) had coitarche below 16 years of age; of these five (38.5%) had used a condom at coitarche and three (60%) with genital infections had gonorrhoea, chlamydial infection or pelvic inflammatory disease. This compared with 112 (35.1%), 70 (62.5%) and 29 (40.8%), respectively for WNIC.WEIC are more likely to have early coitarche; if this is below 16 years subsequent genital infections are more likely to be fertility-threatening.

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