Today, September 26th, is World Contraception Day. Started in 2007 by the European Society for Contraception and Reproductive Health, this annual campaign strives to improve awareness of all contraceptive methods — to enable young people around the world to make informed decisions on their sexual and reproductive health. This year’s theme is ‘Your Future. Your Choice. Your Contraception.’ Efforts over the next 12 months will focus on empowering young people to think ahead and build contraception into their future plans, in order to prevent an unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection (STI). Below is a post from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Impatient Optimists blog.
World Contraception Day: Educating Young People About Their Health and Rights
Gonzalo Infante Grandón, September 19, 2012
This blog is part of a series, edited by Women Deliver, in partnership with Impatient Optimists, on youth perspectives to celebrate World Contraception Day. Share your thoughts in comments and join the conversation at #WCD2012. For more stories and to get involved further visit No Controversy.
When addressing the sexual and reproductive health needs of young people in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), we must first identify the many obstacles they face. In most of Latin America and the Caribbean, more than 90 percent of young people know at least one contraceptive method, but usage rates remain low, especially in rural areas. This is due, in part, to lack of youth-friendly services, myths about sexuality and reproductive health, lack of knowledge about sexual and reproductive rights as human rights, and gender inequality. To achieve our goals, we must look at why these obstacles exist, and how we can work to combat them.
One of the largest obstacles that young people face today in Latin America and the Caribbean is the lack of health services that work with their priorities and needs. Adult experiences and perspectives are very different from those of young people. For information and services to effectively reach young people, youth-friendly services are needed that encourage youth to be agents of their own social and health welfare. On the other hand, the responsibility is not on young people alone-health providers must be trained to respect the sexual and reproductive rights of young people and to approach prevention and treatment from an integrative and holistic view.
Even with effective health services in place, youth still require comprehensive education so that harmful myths on sexuality and reproductive health can be dispelled. Some people believe that a woman can’t get pregnant after her first intercourse, that having sex while standing prevents pregnancy, and that men need to have more sex to be “manly.” There are many other myths out there preventing young people from having healthy experiences. We must work now to break down those myths through comprehensive sexual education.
To read the full blog post, please click here: http://www.impatientoptimists.org/Posts/2012/09/World-Contraception-Day-Preventing-Unplanned-Pregnancy-Protecting-Rights
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