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Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of Adolescents in Zimbabwe.

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Guttmacher Institute
University of Zimbabwe


(1) As of 2011, 38% of young Zimbabwean women have had sex by age 18, as have 23% of young men; this difference has widened over time. Females now first have sex nearly two years sooner than males. (2) One-quarter of 15-19-year-old women have started childbearing; one-third of all births to adolescents are unplanned (wanted later or not at all). (3) Favorable trends of rising modern contraceptive use in urban areas were likely interrupted by the worst of the economic crisis in 2008. Use among married adolescents declined in urban areas (from 50% in 2006 to 29% in 2011), even as it rose in rural areas (from 30% to 37%). (4) Patterns in unmet need for contraception followed suit: In urban areas, the proportion of married adolescents who wanted to postpone childbearing but were not using a method rose between 2006 and 2011(from 14% to 28%); among their counterparts in rural areas, unmet need fell from 20% to 15% over this period. (5) Single, sexually active adolescents have by far the greatest unmet need--62% as of 2011, compared with 19% among their married counterparts. (6) Existing policies need clarification to assure that no adolescent is illegally denied services because of age. Youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health programs should be prioritized so today’s HIV-positive adolescents, many of whom have been infected since birth, do not transmit the virus to yet another generation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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