Over 400 key legal and policy documents from 32 Asia-Pacific countries were analyzed for the report, making it the first systemic review of its kind in the region on this issue. Focus group discussions with young people were also undertaken to elicit their views and experiences in accessing SRH and HIV services, including on issues such as age of consent, age and marriage requirements for services, and attitudes of service providers.
John Godwin, the report’s author, said: “Our research found that restrictive laws can be a significant barrier to access to sexual and reproductive health services for young people – in terms of enjoyment of their health rights, the law has got a lot to do with it.”
“We found that very few countries have taken legal steps to clarify the health rights of young people, and this creates particular problems in the sensitive areas of HIV, sexual health and reproductive health.”
The report offers recommendations on steps that can be taken to address challenges keeping young people from accessing essential health and information services. These cover legal reforms, changes in law enforcement practices and the greater inclusion of young people’s voices in drafting policy related to SRH and HIV services.