Empowering young people to take control of their sexual and reproductive health and rights
Empowering young people to take control of their sexual and reproductive health and rights - Menu
Youth (aged 15-24) account for 40% of new HIV infections globally. But attitudes and norms around ‘appropriate’ behaviour marginalise young people most affected by HIV, preventing them from accessing sexual and reproductive health services and realising their right to sexual health.
Existing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services rarely meet the diverse needs of young people most affected by HIV in a comprehensive way. Often, they fail to take into account structural factors that compound vulnerability to HIV and other STIs such as gender-based inequalities and violence, poverty, harmful cultural practices, policies and laws that criminalise same-sex practices, sex work, drug use, and HIV transmission.
Youth empowerment and service integration
Link Up’s experience demonstrates that young people most affected by HIV can take ownership of their own health and access a broad range of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services if they are provided with the space and the resources to do so.
Leveraging the strengths of each of its consortium members, Link Up has empowered 940,000 young people to demand and take up integrated HIV and SRHR programmes and has worked with public and private clinics to ensure the services on offer are non-judgemental, friendly and effective.
Link Up has put integration at its forefront, joining SRHR interventions with existing community-based HIV programmes, connecting public and private SRHR and HIV service providers, and generating important evidence to add to the knowledge base on SRHR/HIV integration.
The project has built a cadre of over 10,500 youth leaders, role models and peer educators, putting them at the centre of the programme’s design and delivery and in the driving seat of its advocacy work.
Link Up worked in Barisal, Chittagong, Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi, and Sylhet. It focused on young people living with HIV aged 10 to 24 including sex workers, men who have sex with men, hijras (who identify as either female, male, or third gender), pavement dwellers and garment factory workers.
Link Up worked in Bujumbura Mairie, Kayanza, Ngozi, Muyinga, Gitega, Muramvya and Bururi. It focused on young people living with HIV aged 10 to 24, with a focus on young men who have sex with men aged 15 to 24 and young women who sell sex aged 15 to 24.
Link Up worked in six regions around 11 cities: Jimma, Adama, Hawassa, Arbaminch, Bahirdar, Dessie, Gondar, Humera, Addis Ababa, Harar and Kombolcha. It focused on young people living with HIV aged 10 to 24 with a focus on young people who sell sex, young people who have dropped out of school, young people without jobs and young street children.
Link Up worked in Yangon, Mandalay, Mawlamyine, Dawei, Pyay, Monywa, Pathein, Kyaukapdaung (Myingyan), Bago, Lashio and Mogaung. The project focused on young female sex workers age 18 to 24, young men who have sex with men aged 18 to 24, young people who use drugs aged 10 to 24, young people living with HIV aged 10 to 24, and other young people affected by HIV.
Link Up worked in 11 districts: Kampala, Wakiso, Luwero, Nakasongola, Mukono, Kayunga, Mayuge, Iganga, Kamuli, Bugiri and Namutumba. It focused on young people most affected by HIV aged 10 to 24, with a focus on young people living with HIV, young people who engage in sex work, young men who have sex with men, the fishing community and young truck and boda boda [motorbike taxi] drivers who are usually young men.