Meeting the needs of young people for sexual and reproductive health information in Ghana

Eugene Darteh, University of Cape Coast
Kofi Awusabo-Asare, University of Cape Coast

Since the inception of the HIV epidemic in Ghana, four phases of campaigns have emerged, ranging from scare tactics to promoting behavioural change. The view is that young people should not die out of ignorance. The paper assesses the concerns of young people vis-à-vis the messages targeting them. It is based on a nationally representative survey, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews among young people 12-19 years in four districts in Ghana. From the survey, over 95% of adolescents were aware of HIV/AIDS, but only about 40% had heard of other STIs. The main sexual and reproductive health concern from the qualitative data was pregnancy, yet the focus of campaigns has been on HIV. The results indicate inadequate knowledge about other STIs, although co-factors in HIV/AIDS infection and mismatch between concerns of young people and SRH campaign messages. Therefore, programmes for adolescents should take into consideration their concerns and aspirations.

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Presented in Session 137: Reproductive health