Sexual and reproductive health of young people in Macedonia

Only 1.6 % of young women aged 15 to 19 claim they use oral contraception, while only 34.8% of young people used a condom during their last sexual intercourse. The rates of teenage pregnancy and abortions in this age group are several times higher than in the EU. It is estimated that in Macedonia there’s an increasing tendency in the number of people infected with sexually transmitted infections among young people, especially chlamydia and HPV. A growing number of young couples faces infertility, often caused by untreated sexually transmitted infections. The situation regarding violence and intolerance among young people is worrying. Access to appropriate information on sexual and reproductive health and sexuality within the existing curricula is insufficient. These are some of the conclusions reached by a working group composed of expert representatives of 23 ministries, health, educational and social institutions and civil society organizations in Macedonia.

Drashko Kostovski, the Program Director at H.E.R.A., claims that the information young people receive is often outdated, irrelevant and often inaccurate. In a recent research only 13% of students said they learned about condoms and barely 2% on oral contraception.

Only 12.8 % of the population uses modern contraception, making Macedonia one of the countries with the lowest use of modern contraception in Europe. Data shows that in 2008, 6.7% of all births were among the women under the age of 19, while the specific fertility rate in the age group 15-19 was 20.1 in 2008. The number of registered live births to mothers aged 15 years is on the rise, as in 2009 it was 33 while in 2008 it was 24.

Source: Nova Makedonija [mkd]