Accessing Sexual and Reproductive Health Information and Services: A Mixed Methods Study of Young Women’s Needs and Experiences in Soweto, South Africa
Young women and girls in South Africa are at high risk of unintended pregnancy and HIV. Previous studies have reported barriers to contraceptive and other sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services among young women in this context. We aimed to assess young women’s SRH knowledge and experiences and to determine how they get SRH information and services in Soweto, South Africa using quantitative and qualitative methods. Young women, aged 18-24, recruited from primary health clinics and a shopping mall, reported that they have access to SRH information and know where to obtain services. However there are challenges to accessing and utilizing information and services including providers’ unsupportive attitudes, uneven power dynamics in relationships and communication issues with parents and community members. There is a need to assist young women in understanding the significance of SRH information. They need access to age-appropriate, youth-friendly services in order to have healthy sexual experiences.
Keywords: HIV, gender-based violence, contraception, abortion