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Sexual health and rights advocacy among marginalized young women during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Global South
WeLead Consortium, The Hague, Netherlands; University of Calabar, Nigeria, Department of Public Health, Calabar, Nigeria.
WeLead Consortium, The Hague, Netherlands.
WeLead Consortium, The Hague, Netherlands.
WeLead Consortium, The Hague, Netherlands.
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2023 (English)In: IAS 2023 Abstract Book, 2023, p. 603-604Conference paper, Poster (with or without abstract) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: Young women and adolescent girls (15-30years) are disproportionately affected by discrimination, sexual violence, unplanned pregnancy, and gender-based violence; even more so when they are at the intersection of multiple stigmatized identities. Nevertheless, sexual and reproductive health rights (SRH-R) services are often inaccessible due to costs, as well as lack of awareness and sensitivity by service providers. This study explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and how civil society organizations and communities adapted to provide SRHR services to young women in Lebanon, Guatemala, Mozambique, Uganda and Nigeria.

Methods: Data was collected electronically by a team of 11 young female researchers and advocates from 5 different countries using the KoboCollect toolkit between October and December, 2022. A mixed methods approach with surveys and interviews was used to investigate the lived experiences and perspectives of 227 young women identified primarily from existing networks and through chain-referral sampling. Targeted populations were young women and girls: living with HIV; identifying as lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and/or intersex (LBTI); affected by displacement; and/or living with disabilities. Both in-person and virtual interviews due to COVID-19 disruptions were conducted.

Results: Several respondents (35%) were directly involved in implementing SRHR advocacy actions in their communities. A third (33%) of respondents described barriers inaccessing SRHR services, including stigmatization for being sexually active. In particular, young women with disabilities and young LBTI women faced discriminatory attitudes from health care professionals. The fear of contracting COVID-19 coupled with lockdown measures (including lack of transportation and diversion of resources) kept young women away from seeking SRHR services and left nearly half (46%) feeling the pandemic worsened accessing healthcare. Difficulty access-ing contraceptives during the pandemic and associated unplanned pregnancies was identified as a key barrier among 65% of respondents. Notably, sensitive counselling and cervical cancer screening was the least accessed SRHR services in all the included countries.

Conclusions: Our findings show that there is an ongoing need for joint initiatives to address a range of issues surrounding the current advocacy efforts around SRHR in order to attain high standards of health, and ensure equality, non-discrimination, privacy, and confidentiality for young women and girls.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023. p. 603-604
National Category
Infectious Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-222847OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-222847DiVA, id: diva2:1847892
Conference
IAS 2023, the 12th IAS Conference on HIV Science, Brisbane, Australia, July 23-26, 2023
Note

Available from: 2024-03-31 Created: 2024-03-31 Last updated: 2024-04-02Bibliographically approved

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Plymoth, Martin

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf