[UPDATED June 2016] Young people currently comprise a larger proportion of the world’s population than ever before, including in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The World Health Organization defines young people as those between ages 10 and 24, and includes in its definition the sub-groups, adolescents (ages 10 to 19) and youth (ages 15 to 24). Unplanned or unwanted pregnancy among adolescents is a worldwide public health issue, and for unplanned pregnancies among younger women, unsafe options may become the recourse.
Many FP methods—especially long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) methods, like implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs)—while highly effective, are scarcely accessed by or considered acceptable options for youth, especially for those who are unmarried. LARC methods are highly effective, with pregnancy rates of less than one percent per year, and high rates of patient satisfaction and continuation.
As there is wider acceptance of the value of LARCs for young people, the need for SBCC efforts grows. Youth and service providers alike need to be open to discussion about the use of LARCs, address misinformation, tackle the issue of dual protection, and create an open and welcoming environment so that there can be thorough client-provider communication to support youth’s education and voluntary uptake of LARCs.
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Banner Photo: Young adolescent females at a community meeting in Choma District, Zambia, © 2006 Jane Brown/CCP, Courtesy of Photoshare