A participatory youth-led research on the needs of young key populations in South Africa

A participatory youth-led research on the needs of young key populations in South Africa

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Do young key populations in South Africa have access to sexual and reproductive health services?

In 2020, worldwide 65% of people who contracted HIV were sex workers, people who inject drugs, transgender people, gay men and other men who have sex with men, or their sexual partners. These groups are at increased risk of HIV because of criminalisation, stigma, discrimination and violence. If you are young and from a key population, this vulnerability is aggravated by criminalising laws, unfavourable policies, and different social expectations. That is why young people account for a disproportionate number – around one third – of all new HIV infections worldwide in people over 15 years of age.

Young key populations need access to good quality HIV, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and harm reduction services, to address this. However, young key populations experience barriers that hamper their access to these services. In 2020, two young researchers from TB HIV Care conducted 59 in-depth interviews and five focus group discussions with 85 young people from key populations in Durban, South Africa, to understand what influences them to access HIV and SRHR services. The research is part of the Young, Wild and… Free? project (2019-2021), which supports young key populations to increase access to and uptake of HIV, SRHR, and harm reduction services in Russia, Kenya, South Africa, and Vietnam. Young researchers were in the lead of the research process and guided this summary report after receiving training in research skills from partners in the Bridging the Gaps programme (2011-2020), which is the parent programme of Young, Wild and… Free?

A participatory youth-led research on the needs of young key populations in South Africa

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