Adolescents Use of Sexual and Reproductive Health Services - Reasons and Barriers

Brankica Mladenović


Aim: There is growing recognition that adolescents need to be adequately provided with reproductive health care due to prolonged period of premarital sexual activity, increasing rates of sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancies and abortions among this age group. They face many barriers in attempt to obtain such services. The aim of this study was to better describe whether, why and to what extent adolescents use sexual and reproductive health services and what are the main barriers for their use.
Methods. Data were obtained from school survey conducted in Skopje in December, 2004, among 574 high-school students from 6 different high schools. The 82 items self-administered questionnaire were used. The study sample was selected at random using two levels of sampling: school level and class level.
Results. The proportion of students ever visited doctor for a problem related to sexual and reproductive health was 12,2%. Most reported reasons were counseling on sexuality (4,5%) and gynecological or urological problems (4,0%). Only 2,1% students reported visited doctor for contraception and STI (2,3%). Proportion of students reporting experience of uncovered needs for reproductive health services was 22,47%. The main reasons mentioned were lack of information and subjective barriers. Of those sexually active, 25,9% girls and 20,3% boys have ever suspected being affected by sexually transmitted infection, but only 6,4 % consulted a doctor for that episode. The comparison of proportion of sexually active students (33,6 %) with the proportion of students who ever used a reproductive health facility (13,5%) shows their under-use. 
Conclusions: The under-use of reproductive health services was clearly demonstrated. Subjective barriers and lack of information are dominant. Young people should be guided in their reproductive health seeking behavior and convinced that such services are “youth friendly”.

Ključne riječi

adolescents, sexual and reproductive health services, reasons for visiting, barriers

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Hrvatski časopis za javno zdravstvo, ISSN 1845-3082, Otvoreni pristup - autori zadržavaju autorsko pravo uz obavezu navođenja izvora u slučaju citiranja