Background Following the ministry of health reports that indicated high incidences of late reporting of STIs by youths in 2009, ARHA conducted a baseline survey to ascertain the cause of the problem. The findings reviewed that most of the youths who reported STIs to clinics in the affected areas received stigma from the health staff, others feared to disclose their conditions to their parents due to traditional factors. Youths who fall prey to STIs preferred traditional medicines for cure while. In 2011, a youth access project was launched in three affected districts of Western Province in Zambia. It aimed at reducing STIs transmission by increasing youth access to sexual and reproductive health services.
Methods Three key methods were used;
Household Approach: - The household approach was initiated to win support of parents. Peer educators adopted households with permission from parents and conducted peer education sessions with youths on STIs prevention during their spare time. Adult mentors were also trained to promote parent to child dialogue on sexuality issues in all the adopted households.
Information and condom distribution booth: - booths were placed in strategic places within the project areas to offer IEC, referrals and condoms. Booths were managed by peer educators.
Youth Friendly Corners: - youths were trained as lay counsellors and youth friendly corners were established in health facilities. The ministry of health attached trained health personnel to offer clinical services. The youth friendly corners received referrals from households, booths and STIs cases from the Out patient department.
Results By the end of 2011, youths accessed information on how they can prevent STIs screened and treated for STIs. Cases of STIs among the youths in the project sites have reduced. The demand for condoms has also increased in the project sites.
Conclusion Increasing access to SRHS among youth prevents STIs.
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