‘City lacks in sexual health counselling’

India 2016sexucity

Lucknow: Not just absence of privacy and confidentiality in dealing with sexual health services, lack of youth-friendly services and inaccessibility to legal information too drives young population in the city towards unsafe and illegal sexual health services. This was found in a part of the study conducted by Yeh Ek Soch (YES) Foundation along with Delhi-based YP Foundation on ‘Youth friendly sexual and reproductive health and rights services’.

The study containing extensive data conducted by a team of 12 researchers who surveyed 48 health services across 29 health centres, including government, private and indigenous health providers will be released on Thursday. Training of researchers, all above 20 years of age, began in January following which in April they were sent for ground research.

“One stark finding was that in a city with considerable young population, there are only two Adolescent Friendly Health Clinics (AFHC). The one for men is functional at Balrampur hospital and the other for women is at Dufferin hospital. The lack of such centres pushes youngsters towards unsafe practices,” said Anuj Dubey, team head.

Concentrating around abortion counselling, HIV test and counselling, sexually transmitted infection (STI) and reproductive tract infections (RTI) counselling and testing, contraception services and related issues, researchers found that while there is a need for the city youth to access sexual health related information, behaviour of counsellors acted negatively.

The report also saw a heightened stigma surrounding abortion and contraception services where a young researcher who was not a minor was denied her legal right to abortion as she was unmarried. “The counsellor denied the researcher the right to abortion without parental consent if she is unmarried even if she was of legal age. This is completely illegal and a push towards unsafe practices by young girls,” added Dubey.