Acknowledge the Needs of Marginalized Sub-Populations
Guiding Principle for Good Youth Reproductive Health Policy
Policy should pay particular attention to marginalized groups such as young refugees, street children, and sex workers. Youth in these situations are among the most vulnerable of all young people to risk taking and sexual coercion and abuse. Too often, policy addressing these vulnerable youth has taken the approach that such youth are problems to be dealt with. A more positive approach is needed that identifies the needs of specially vulnerable youth and promotes effective programmatic solutions.
Reaching Socially Marginalized Youth with Reproductive Health Services. A brief overview from the FOCUS on Young Adults program.
Q. What are the special reproductive health challenges confronting adolescent refugees?
Due to forced displacement from their homes, exposure to violence, acute poverty, and separation from their families and communities, refugee adolescents face additional difficulties that affect their reproductive health. They often lack sufficient education, health care, protection, livelihood, recreational activities, and friendship and family support. Furthermore, compared with non-refugees, refugee adolescents may begin sexual relations at an earlier age, and take more sexual risks, such as having sexual intercourse without using a condom. They are more vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation in the absence of traditional socio-cultural constraints. These conditions limit their access to information on reproductive health; exacerbate unsafe sexual practices, unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions; and increase their exposure to STIs, including HIV/AIDS. In situations of conflict, the dearth of youth-friendly services is a significant barrier to ensuring young people's right to a healthy and productive life.