New study examines young women's access to SRH information and services in South Africa

May 2015

A recently published paper in the African Journal of Reproductive Health focused on understanding how young women in Soweto, South Africa obtain sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and services. In the past decade, there has been a growing awareness and response in South Africa to the need to expand HIV prevention and SRH services to adolescents and young adults; yet, despite these efforts, questions regarding whether services are sufficiently accessible by young people persist.

Ibis researchers found that young women (aged 18-24) reported that they have access to SRH information and know where to obtain services. However, there are challenges to accessing and utilizing information and services including providers’ unsupportive attitudes, uneven power dynamics in relationships, and communication issues with parents and community members.

The results of this study indicate that young women in this context are exposed to a significant amount of information on SRH, including HIV and gender-based violence. However, there is a need to assist them in understanding the significance of this information and to ensure young women have access to age-appropriate, youth-friendly services in order to have healthy sexual experiences.