Youth-friendly services

Youth-friendly services

“What does youth-friendly mean to you?”


Youth friendly sexual and reproductive health services are services or clinics that deliver a comprehensive range of sexual and reproductive health services in ways that are responsive to the specific needs, vulnerabilities and desires of young people. These youth friendly services succeed in attracting and retaining young clients for continuing care. This can only be done when there is understanding and respect for young people’s sexual and reproductive rights.

Youth-friendly services should be accessible to all adolescents and young people regardless of your age, marital status, HIV status, sexual orientation, gender identity, occupation, social status, geographical location or ability to pay. These services must be confidential, non-judgmental and private. These services can only be youth-friendly when you are actually involved in the structure and quality of the services provided. This is what we call Meaningful Youth Participation.

Youth friendly services recognize the importance of the people and community groups that structure your choices and your life, such as partners, parents, community leaders, friends, guardians, caregivers, faith organizations and schools. Thus, services should involve and gain the support of those people. At the same time, service providers must prioritize your rights, including rights to privacy and confidentiality, and ensure that when involving parents, guardians or other they do not compromise these rights.

Youth-friendly service providers should work with programs and schools providing comprehensive sexuality education and other youth sexual and reproductive health programs to improve linkages between services, education and outreach.


Access to information

Access to information is very important for you to manage your sexual and reproductive health and rights. Only when you are informed and have correct information, can you make informed and responsible decisions. Having accurate information on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) empowers you, but also protects you from unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, harmful practices, etc. It is therefore important to have access to comprehensive sexuality education in schools, to better promote and protect the rights and needs of young people.

These are some of the barriers you might have experienced when trying to access information about Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights:

  • Limited knowledge on where to access information

  • Misconceptions around sexual and reproductive health

  • Fear, shame and stigma around sex and sexuality

  • Cultural beliefs in a community

  • Financial obstacles when it comes to access SRHR services, for example, going to a health center

Don’t be intimidated by the barriers you might face! Everyone has the right to information to make their own informed choices about their bodies and sexual and reproductive health. You can overcome these barriers by asking for support from friends who also want access to information, get support from family members or trusted adults, etc.


Quality of services 

 Here are some guidelines to check the quality of services:

  • A safe environment: young people feel secure and safe to use services, free from corruption, stigma, exploitation or abuse.
  • Youth-friendly: services should take into account the different needs and diversity of what young people want and need. This can only be so when young people are involved in the design, organization, implementation and evaluation of the services and have the chance to meaningfully participate and openly share their needs.
  • Supportive: Young people are encouraged to manage their lives in a healthy way and are not judged or shamed by the health workers.
  • Adequate information: Quality services should provide you with appropriate and enough information and answer your questions unconditionally.
  • Respect: Quality services should respect the rights of young people and their diversity, without any judgement.
  • Confidentiality: This means that service providers keep the discussed issues between the provider and the adolescent, so that young people can openly discuss their problems, without fear of being judge by others
  • Affordability: Basic health services should either be provided at a low and affordable cost, or free of charge. 


In addition to the above integrated sexual and reproductive health services should provide;

  • Sexual and reproductive health counselling

  • Contraceptive counselling and provision (including emergency contraception)

  • Safe abortion services

  • HIV prevention, testing and counselling services

  • Antenatal and postnatal services

  • Sexual and gender-based violence counselling

  • Relationship and sexuality counselling

Integrated sexual and reproductive health services are very important for you to manage your sexual and reproductive health. These services focus on prevention, diagnosis and management of sexual and reproductive problems, both physical and mental. For example, if you go to a health clinic, you have the right to STI/HIV testing, counselling and treatment, in a confidential and non-judgmental manner.

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