Young people’s perception of sexual and reproductive health services in Kenya

May 21, 2014

How can we improve the quality and uptake of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services for youth in Kenya? With this question in mind, a research has been conducted among youth in Kenya. What are the most common SRH problems they face? And how can this best be tackled?

Youth from sub-Saharan Africa face the greatest risk of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). Over half of all new HIV infections occur among young people, with girls being four times more likely to be infected than boys. In spite of this, condom use is still very low and uptake of testing for HIV is only slowly increasing. In Kenya, a study was conducted to investigate the SRH problems and needs youth are having, and their perceptions regarding available SRH services.
Though the problems youth are facing are rather broad, most young people (age 10 – 24) mention  early and unprotected sex, unwanted pregnancy, infection with STI’s including HIV/AIDS, unsafe abortion, sexual violence and female genital mutilation as SRH problems they face. There are also indirect problems, such as lack of parental guidance on sexuality, poverty and unemployment, and drug and substance abuse. 
Health centres address these problems, but not all young people make use of them. Therefore, many health centres have youth friendly services, such as recreational activities and games. The study showed that young people who came to the youth centre to play games or be involved in other activities eventually would end up using the centre’s SRH services if needed. 

However, these services are not available in all regions, and the youth wishes to see an increase in the availability of it, especially in rural areas. Additionally, awareness on the availability of the services must be increased. Lastly, the opening hours should be extended to include weekends, public holidays and evenings. Read the full article if you want to learn more about this research.

STOP AIDS NOW! is part of the ASK (Access, Services, Knowledge) program, which addresses the needs of young people in Kenya and other countries. The goal is to prevent unwanted pregnancies and new STI/HIV infections among the youths; prevent HIV transmission from (young) mothers to their child; to get more young people to know their HIV status, and; and get more young people who need it on HIV medication.  

This article has been published in the STOP AIDS NOW! E-news May 2014.