1 in 4 Young People Can’t Afford Safe SexFriday, September 11th, 2009
Governments fail to provide access to contraceptives or sex education, says new IPPF survey. Please sign the petition that calls on governments to meet their commitments on sexual and reproductive health.
A global survey of young people from 130 countries around the world has revealed that one in four young people does not have access to affordable contraceptives, such as condoms or the pill, although many are already sexually active.
The survey, launched by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), reveals many more damning statistics about access to contraception and sexual health services.
The findings indicate that one in three young people fails to receive adequate sex education, and as a result, risks exposure to sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and unwanted pregnancy. Less than two per cent of respondents receive sexual health information from a medical professional, leaving more than 65 per cent relying on friends or the media for their sexual health information
The largest cohort of young people the world has ever seen, nearly two billion, are demanding that their governments provide better contraceptive and sexual health services, and fully invest in young people’s health and well-being.
Contraceptive demand is estimated to increase by 40 per cent by 2050, yet governments around the world are already failing to meet the need for contraception. More than 200 million women are already unable to access contraceptives and prevent pregnancy.
More than 90 per cent of those surveyed believe that their governments could be doing more to improve access to affordable contraception and other services. The failure of governments to meet the sex education and sex health needs of young people will have potentially severe consequences for both the health and well-being of millions of people and the planet they live on.
Alarmingly, the survey also found:
* A quarter (28 per cent) of respondents received their sexual health information from friends.
* For 37 per cent of those surveyed said the media was the primary source of sexual health information.
* Only half (53 per cent) knew whether their governments provided abortion services or emergency contraception.
Meeting the current and future need for contraception and family planning will contribute to individual health and well-being, healthy sustainable families and communities, and a healthier, more sustainable planet. Ensuring people are able to plan their families will make a major contribution to adaptation strategies for combating climate change, especially in poor countries with high rates of population growth that will be most severely impacted by climate change.
Countries with least resources are least able to manage the impact of the links between rapid population growth, environmental degradation, climate change, equitable access to resources and social and economic development.
Dr. Gill Greer, Director General of IPPF warned, “15 years ago at the landmark International Conference on Population Development in Cairo 179 governments committed to provide better access to sexual health services and family planning. Meeting these needs for young people is a major challenge, but one that governments must face up to; the consequences of failure for the health and well-being of millions will be devastating. Everyone has a right to be able to plan their families by choice not chance, and free from coercion; when women are aware of the benefits of family planning and have access to contraception, they invariably choose more for their children rather than more children.
“A renewed focus on voluntary family planning and contraception around the world would do much to meet the needs and desires of millions of individuals to plan their families and improve their health and well-being. This is one of the great social justice issues of our time.”
The report comes as IPPF prepares to deliver a petition to the United Nations as part of their 15andCounting campaign. The campaign is asking people all over the world to sign the “Count Me In: Sexual Rights for All” petition to demand better access to sexual health services and education for everyone.
To sign the petition and find out more about the campaign visit www.15andcounting.org