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The focus of this year’s campaign is ‘Know Your Options’ which encourages young people to take responsibility for contraception and learn about all the options available so that they can make informed decisions on their sexual and reproductive health.
Conservative and religious beliefs can make even talking about sex before marriage completely taboo. Yet pregnancy-related deaths are the leading cause of mortality for young women, whose bodies are often not physically ready for childbirth, with up to 16 million girls, aged 15 to 19, giving birth every year.
Sexually transmitted infections also disproportionately affect young people with 15 to 24-year-olds around the world making up 25 percent of the sexually active population but nearly 50 percent of all newly acquired sexually transmitted infections .
In countries like China sex is not really talked about in open forums, and while sexual and reproductive health and family planning services are widely available for married couples, unmarried youth are often excluded and end up marginalised by the healthcare system.
However, this is changing and China is starting to take a leading role in young people’s sex education. Recently Marie Stopes International (MSI) China co-hosted China’s first ever National Youth Sex Education Forum and also carried out their first ever web chat on sexual and reproductive health on one’s of China’s leading media networks.
It is important that young people are able to access reliable, unbiased sources of information so they can make think ahead and build contraception into their future plans, in order to prevent an unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection.
About World Contraception Day
Blake, S. et al., Youth Guide for Action on Maternal Health, Women Deliver 2010
Ros et al., Global epidemiology of sexually transmitted diseases. Asian J Androl. 2008 Jan;10(1):110-4.
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