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Young People’s Sexual and Reproductive Health: Towards Improved Standards for Sexual Education in Europe

Thursday 12th January 2017, 10:00am — 4:30pm
Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre

Key Speakers: Ana Rizescu, You Act & Rachel Andras, INDERA

According to the European Commission, sexual health can be related to a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality and is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. As a sensitive area, it involves multiple levels of educational, ethical, medical, social and cultural customs, which vary considerably across Europe.

Established in 2011, the European Regional World Health Organization's strategy on sexual and reproductive health achieved progress in health national policies, particularly in the development of preventive measures for unsafe abortions and with the introduction of sexual and reproductive health in the national agendas. However, several challenges still remain to be tackled: a recent report on adolescent health and well-being, from the Lancet Commission Group (May 2016), revealed that sexual health and sexually transmitted infections remain a significant public health problem in Europe, with two-thirds of young people growing up in countries where preventable and treatable health problems like unsafe sex, STIs, unwanted pregnancies, injury, violence and depression are an ongoing threat to their development and well-being.

The ongoing regional consultation on the development of the European action plan for sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) 2017-2021 stresses the importance of investing in a comprehensive and appropriate sexuality education for children available to all age groups. It also stresses the need of including children and adolescents as well as their parents, through an inclusive European policy strategy that embraces the importance of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), especially for the vulnerable groups such as LGTB and refugees. The action plan also highlighted the key role of health professionals in achieving an inclusive, high quality sexual health prevention system.

This timely symposium provides an opportunity to discuss different strategies aimed at improving young people’s access to information, contraception and advice services. This symposium will also examine the importance of addressing the challenges related to young adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health through a multilevel approach that encompasses developing youth-friendly health services, parental capability, health-promoting schools as well as empowering young people to participate in the decisions that affect their lives. 

More information and programme HERE.