A Qualitative Exploration to Understand the Sexual Behavior and Needs of Young Adults: A Study Among College Students of Pune, India



Youth and adolescents are the priority population to target the interventions as risky behaviors persist and they contribute to almost half of the new Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections. The youth in India have a unique and diverse need of sex health education. The present study was conducted with the objective to understand their sexual behavior and requirements of sexual health.


Focus group discussions were conducted among 74 college students, separately for boys and girls. The participant students were from different streams of education. The domains of enquiry were related to the relationships, risk behaviors, sources of information and use of technology for sex health education. The qualitative data was analyzed based on the themes and subthemes derived from these discussions.


A majority of the youth favoured active involvement of parents, school teachers in sex health education. They suggested that better-informed parents lead to better-informed adolescents. Open discussion with experts was also desired by the students. The use of mobile/web based application for sex health education and awareness about HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) was preferred, however, they suggested that based on personal requirements, individual need based counseling and guidance is important.


Active parental involvement and open discussions on sexuality were the preferred options by the student to seek the knowledge and guidance. Innovative mobile application for sex health education will be useful for the young adults for information and communication. The study highlighted a need to develop a holistic approach to generate a culturally-sensitive sex health education and life skills model.

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The authors acknowledge the support of Dr. Seema Sahay, Scienitst G and Dr Sheela Godbole, Scientist F, NARI in developing the study proposal. The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution of the students who actively participated in the study and shared their experiences. They would also like to thank all the principals and teachers of the colleges who provided their support to organize the focus group discussion in the college premises.

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All the authors have contributed in implementation of the study and in manuscript development. RB is the guarantor for this paper.

Correspondence to Radhika Brahme.

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Intramural institutional funds were used to conduct the study.

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Brahme, R., Mamulwar, M., Rahane, G. et al. A Qualitative Exploration to Understand the Sexual Behavior and Needs of Young Adults: A Study Among College Students of Pune, India. Indian J Pediatr (2020) doi:10.1007/s12098-019-03160-7

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  • Young adults
  • Adolescents
  • Sexual health
  • Sex health education