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Understanding Sexual Reproductive Health Rights

Let us talk about our Sexual Reproductive Health Rights as Young people

Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) is not just about health care or information about disease – it is also about rights and choices. SRH is a human right and is fundamental to human survival and development.

Human Rights are basic rights and freedoms that all people are entitled to regardless of nationality, sex age, national or ethnic origin, race, language or other status.

Sexual Rights include the human rights of women and men to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality.

Reproductive Rights are the basic rights of women and men to decide freely and responsibly on issues of sexuality and family planning, to have access to information to make these decisions and the means to carry them out.

Sexual Health is “…a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.” (World Health Organisation).

Reproductive Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes.

Sexual and reproductive health is also a basic human right. Sexual and reproductive health encompasses a range of issues, including: STIs, including HIV, and reproductive tract infections (RTIs), unintended pregnancy , infertility, sexual well-being (including sexual satisfaction, pleasure and dysfunction), certain aspects of mental health, the impact of physical disabilities and chronic illnesses on sexual health.

In ensuring the right to health, provision should be made to challenging social stigma and discrimination that is based on age, gender or HIV status.

Rights and Responsibilities

The right to life


  • Protect yourself against unintended results of sex and STIs
  • Access health care services to protect yourself from life threatening illnesses
  • Access healthcare information if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby
  • Know your HIV status

The right to equal treatment


  • Treat everyone equally and with respect
  • Choose your partner wisely
  • Respect your partners right to decide freely when to engage in sex
  • Know your status before engaging in sex.

The right to personal security


  • Do not be violent towards anyone
  • Seek help and advice if you experience or worried that you are at risk of experiencing violence of any kind.
  • Seek medical advice immediately after experience sexual violence as you may have been exposed to STIs, HIV and pregnancy

The right to privacy


  • If you are under 16, the law considers you too young. Wait until you are ready
  • Know and demand your privacy when it is violated

The right to information


  • Look for accurate information on SRHR from credible sources
  • Think about starting and SRHR information club with your friends
  • If there is a Internet of Good Things and other reliable platforms access use them

The right to decide when and who to marry


  • Focus on your education and career first
  • Be responsible and safe when in a relationship
  • Take your time to understand your partner

The right to plan your family


  • Men have the responsibility to protect their partners by supporting their right to use family planning methods
  • Men and woman have an equal responsibility in their relationships to plan effectively for their families

The right to health care


  • Find out HIV status
  • Seek medical advice as soon as possible if pregnant, or planning to have a baby
  • Help others if their SRHR are not being upheld
  • Be a role model: Be responsible by making safe, mature and responsible decisions about your SRH