Adolescent Reproductive And Sexual Health

Adolescents are distinct population group with particular needs and capacities. Their numbers have steadily increased in last few decades. More than 1 billion young people are between the ages of 15 to 24 years majority being in developing countries. Sexuality is one of the most sensitive issues associated with adolescence. Adolescents receive inadequate education, guidance and services that could have been helped them to make smooth transition to adulthood. They are denied complete access to reproductive health information and services especially in the third world countries. The limited knowledge about their bodies and their sexuality, make adolescents vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases and infections, including HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, sexual exploitation, and violence. Girls are vulnerable due to their lower educational status and inability to negotiate on issues related to reproductive and sexual health.

A look at the statistics reveals that:

  • One in every 10 births world-wide is to teenage mothers. In least developed countries, 1 in every 6 births is to young women aged 15 to 19.
  • Pregnancy before age 18 has many health risks. Girls 10 to 14 are five times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than women aged 20 to 24.
  • At least 1 in 10 abortions world-wide occurs to women aged 15 to 19 years. More than 4.4 million young women in this age group have an abortion every year, 40 per cent of which are performed under unsafe conditions.
  • Everyday, 500,000 young people are infected with an STD, most in the 20 to 24 years group, followed by those in 15 to 19 age group.

To enable adolescents to enjoy their reproductive and sexual rights, including their rights to information, education and services and to ensure that young girls gain self-esteem and confidence it is important to generate an awareness and appreciation of crucial skills to help adolescents negotiate life's more difficult passages. Strengthen networks among adolescents to encourage working together and sharing experiences. Provide information and services on promoting safe sexual behavior including abstinence, delayed age of onset of sexual intercourse, preventing unwanted and early pregnancies, and preventing STDs, including HIV/AIDS.

From : Yuman Azad

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