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UNESCO HIV and Health Education Clearinghouse

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  1. Early marriage and sexual and reproductive health vulnerabilities of young women: a synthesis of recent evidence from developing countries

    Purpose of review: To review current evidence on the links between early marriage and health-related outcomes for young women and their children. Recent findings: Every third young woman in the developing countries excluding China continues to marry as a child, that is before age 18. Recent studies reiterate the adverse health consequences of early marriage among young women and their children even after a host of confounding factors are controlled. …

  2. Learners’ perspectives on the provision of condoms in South African public schools

    A stubborn health challenge for learners in South African public schools concerns sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). In 2015, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) proposed the provision of condoms and SRHR-services to learners in schools. This study aimed to contribute to the finalisation and implementation of DBE’s policy by exploring learners’ perspectives on the provision of condoms and SRHR-services in schools. …

  3. What is best practice in sex and relationship education? A synthesis of evidence, including stakeholders’ views

    Sex and relationship education (SRE) is regarded as vital to improving young people's sexual health, but a third of schools in England lacks good SRE and government guidance is outdated. The authors aimed to identify what makes SRE programmes effective, acceptable, sustainable and capable of faithful implementation. […] They identified key features of effective and acceptable SRE. Their best practice criteria can be used to evaluate existing programmes, contribute to the development of new programmes and inform consultations around statutory SRE.

  4. Searching for the second R in sexual and reproductive health and … rights

    Sexual and reproductive health and rights have gained prominence in the HIV response. The role of sexual and reproductive health in underpinning a successful approach to HIV prevention, treatment, care, and services has increasingly been recognized. However, the “second R,” referring to sexual and reproductive rights, is often neglected. This leads to policies and programs which both fail to uphold and fulfill these rights and which fail to meet the needs of those most affected by HIV by neglecting to take account of the human right-based barriers and challenges they face. …

  5. Mapping the knowledge and understanding of menarche, menstrual hygiene and menstrual health among adolescent girls in low- and middle-income countries

    This paper maps the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices surrounding menarche, menstrual hygiene and menstrual health among adolescent girls in low and middle income countries in order to inform the future design of relevant policies and programming. The study of over 80 journal articles from a number of low and middle income countries confirmed that: (1) Many adolescent girls start their periods uninformed and unprepared. (2) Mothers are the primary source of information, but they inform girls too-little and too-late and often communicate their own misconceptions. …

  6. Sex education in the digital area

    This issue of the IDS Bulletin presents a collection of scholarly work on the topic for a mixed audience of researchers, policymakers and practitioners. A collaboration between Love Matters and IDS, articles discuss experiences with digital sex education in many countries and in a range of settings. The issues confronted are diverse, yet the common themes encountered are often as striking as the differences. …

  7. Implementing the United Kingdom government's 10-year teenage pregnancy strategy for England (1999–2010): applicable lessons for other countries

    Teenage pregnancy is an issue of inequality affecting the health, well-being, and life chances of young women, young men, and their children. Consequently, high levels of teenage pregnancy are of concern to an increasing number of developing and developed countries.

  8. A farewell to abstinence and fidelity? Comment

    Sex has regularly proven to be a polarising issue for the UN Member States, and the 2016 High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS on June 8–10 was no exception. The Political Declaration adopted at the meeting addresses the sexual health needs of young people (15–24 years), including adolescents (11–19 years). 2000 new HIV infections occur among young people every day. HIV is the leading cause of death among adolescents in Africa, and the second-highest cause of death worldwide in this age group. …

  9. Detailed methodology for systematic reviews of interventions to improve the sexual and reproductive health of young people in low- and middle-income countries

    The goal of this project was to systematically review and compile evidence on interventions in low- and middle-income countries, which targeted three adverse health-related outcomes for young people (ages 10–24): (1) early pregnancy and repeat pregnancy; (2) child marriage; and (3) sexually transmitted infections including human immunodeficiency virus. The authors searched the gray and published literature to identify interventions and developed a scoring system to assess whether these interventions and their evaluations were of high quality. …

  10. Interventions to prevent sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, among young people in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review of the published and gray literature

    Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, are prevalent among adolescents and can have lasting adverse health consequences. The objective of this review is to identify high-quality interventions and evaluations to decrease STI transmission and related risky behaviors among young people in low- and middle-income countries. PubMed, Embase, PsycInfo, Cinahl Plus, Popline, and the Cochrane Databases were searched without language limitations for articles published through November 2015. Gray literature was searched by hand. …

  11. School-based interventions for preventing HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and pregnancy in adolescents (Review)

    Background: School-based sexual and reproductive health programmes are widely accepted as an approach to reducing high-risk sexual behaviour among adolescents. Many studies and systematic reviews have concentrated on measuring effects on knowledge or self-reported behaviour rather than biological outcomes, such as pregnancy or prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Objectives: To evaluate the effects of school-based sexual and reproductive health programmes on sexually transmitted infections (such as HIV, herpes simplex virus, and syphilis), and pregnancy among adolescents.

  12. How reliable are reports of early adolescent reproductive and sexual health events in demographic and health surveys?

    CONTEXT: Age at sexual debut, age at first marriage or first union and age at first birth are among the most widely used indicators of health and well-being for female adolescents. However, the accuracy of estimates for these indicators, particularly for younger adolescents, is poorly understood. METHODS: For each of nine countries in Africa and Latin America, Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from two surveys conducted five years apart were used to examine women’s reports of age at sexual debut, marriage or first union, and first birth. …

  13. Sexuality education in India: examining the rhetoric, rethinking the future

    Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) has been recognised globally as key to helping young people assert their sexual and reproductive rights. In India too, there is growing awareness of the importance of providing CSE not only to reduce sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies and abortions but also to teach important life skills. Simultaneously, lack of political will and conflicting interests among certain religious and political factions have ensured that no uniform CSE curriculum has been implemented throughout the country. …

  14. Scaling up comprehensive sexuality education in Nigeria: from national policy to nationwide application

    Nigeria is one of few countries that reports having translated national policies on school-based comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) into near-nationwide implementation. We analysed data using the World Health Organization-ExpandNet framework, which provides a systematic structure for planning and managing the scaling up of health innovations. We examined how Nigeria's nationwide programme was designed and executed. Since 2002, Nigeria has developed a well thought through strategy to scale up CSE. …

  15. What does not work in adolescent sexual and reproductive health: a review of evidence on interventions commonly accepted as best practices

    Youth centers, peer education, and one-off public meetings have generally been ineffective in facilitating young people's access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, changing their behaviors, or influencing social norms around adolescent SRH. Approaches that have been found to be effective when well implemented, such as comprehensive sexuality education and youth-friendly services, have tended to flounder as they have considerable implementation requirements that are seldom met. …

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