Understanding the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Adolescents in Developing Countries: A Review of the Evidence on Risk-Taking Behaviours and Dual Protection from a WHO Research Initiative
Ina Warriner, Independent Consultant
Shireen J. Jejeebhoy, Population Council
Iqbal H. Shah, World Health Organization (WHO)
The transition to adulthood poses significant sexual and reproductive health challenges for adolescents. To address research gaps in knowledge about the sexual and reproductive health of young people in developing countries, the World Health Organization Special Programme of Research, Development, and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP) launched a social science research initiative targeting under-researched priority areas. The initiative ultimately comprised over 40 studies conducted in a wide variety of developing-country settings. In this review paper, we synthesize the evidence across countries in two key areas of adolescent sexual and reproductive health: the factors that inhibit or enhance risky behaviours and adolescent perspectives on and practice of dual protection. Drawing on the evidence from the studies, the paper provides recommendations for improving the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents.