Your body is unique — Celebrate And Protect it
“Life is a ‘do it yourself project’. Your attitude and the choices you make today, help build the house you live in tomorrow. Therefore build wisely”
Protecting Adolescents’ health is the foundation for a healthy society
Who are adolescents?
Adolescents, defined by the United Nations as those between the ages of 10 and 19, numbering 1.2 billion in the world today, making up 16 per cent of the world’s population. As children up to the age of 18, most adolescents are protected under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
What is Adolescence?
The term adolescence is derived from the Latin term “Adolescere”, which means “to grow up”.
Adolescence is a crucial link between childhood and adulthood. Adolescents undergo significant physical, psychological, emotional, social and sexual changes during this period.
It is a transition period that involves certain risks and also abundant opportunities which could impact their present as well as future health positively or negatively.
They need a safe and supportive environment in their families and communities to undergo these changes in safety, with confidence and with the best prospects to transform into healthy and productive adults.
Facts about Adolescents in India
· 22% of India’s population makeup adolescents and 47% of Adolescents are girls.
· Adolescent girls lack the knowledge about the basics of the natural processes of their body, puberty, menstruation, sexual and reproductive health, pregnancy and contraception.
· The low status of women in the family and society, gender bias and gender violence are also impacting negatively on the reproductive and sexual health(RSH) of adolescent girls and women.
· Anaemia and stunting are widely prevalent, and girls are the main victims
· 50% of girls are married by 18 age years (NFHS 1&2), and about 20% are pregnant by age 15, with the inherent risks of a 100% increase in maternal and infant mortality and morbidity.
· Premarital sex relations are increasing
· At least 50% of all young women are sexually active by age 18, mostly within marriage, as the incidence of child marriages is very high
· The menace of Trafficking and prostitution has increased.
· Both boys and girls are subjected to sexual abuse and are at risk for STIs/HIV/AIDS.
· Sexual coercion or forcible sex results in adolescent girls’ risk of unwanted pregnancy.
· RTIs are common in young women. Misconceptions about HIV/AIDS are widespread. 32–42 % of people living with HIV/AIDS in India are between the ages of 15–29.
· 40% of adolescents start drugs &substance abuse between 15–20 years.
· Adolescents learn more about sexual and reproductive health from uninformed sources, which results in the perpetuation of myths and misconceptions about the natural processes of their body, puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth etc.
· Social norms and cultural systems prohibit talking about sex. That is why providing reproductive and sexual health information and services to adolescents in India is challenging. As a result, adolescents are shrouded in myths and misconceptions about sexuality.
· The special needs of adolescents are rarely addressed by the educational, health, and family welfare programs.
· 70% of premature deaths are caused by the Habits and lifestyles of adolescents.
·Adolescents need social skills that will enable them to say “No” to sex with confidence and to negotiate safer sex if they wish to.
·They also need skills to resist peer pressure and to say ‘No’ to vices, which might have a negative impact on their health and future life.
·Adolescent girls must be able to think and decide consciously and freely
-whether, when, and with whom to become sexually active,
-To avoid nonconsensual sex,
-To resist Sexual violence and abuse,
-To plan pregnancies and to have access to safe abortion
-To avoid acquiring or transmitting sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS.
Adolescents need accurate and authentic information and skills.
This issue should be addressed by the educational, health, and family welfare programs and also by the non Governmental organisations dedicated to Adolescents’ health education
“Good health and wisdom- Greatest blessings for a person’s life”.
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