Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights
Young people face a number of obstacles accessing sexual and reproductive health services. These barriers relate to availability and accessibility as well as the quality of the services provided. Entrenched social norms and gender inequality around young people and girls’ sexuality mean young people’s behaviors are controlled and they may be stigmatized for being sexually active.
Due to their age, young people’s ability to make decisions or express an opinion may not be respected. All these make it difficult, and often prevent young people from accessing sexual and reproductive health services. Young people may require information on and access to menstruation, HIV and STI (sexually transmitted infection) testing and treatment, modern contraception, pregnancy testing services, gender-based violence and harmful practices counseling and referral among others.
Services must respect a young person’s privacy, confidentiality and obtain informed consent. Services should also be tailored to the specific needs of young people. When children and young people are informed and receive positive support from parents, caregivers, teachers and community leaders, they are equipped with the knowledge, confidence and skills to make autonomous and healthy decisions and can grow up ready for consensual and pleasurable experiences, free from shame and pain related to sexuality.