Katarina Sedlecky


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    Barriers in access to contraception for minors

    Katarina Sedlecky Institute for Mother and Child Health Care of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia - ksedlecki@gmail.com

    Use of effective contraception is one of the crucial issues in the sexual and reproductive health care for minors. However, far too many adolescents are at a risk of unplanned pregnancy, due to the many and varied factors that hinder them from recognizing and fulfilling their needs in the field of safe sexual behavior. The barriers can be grouped into macro and micro determinants. Among macro determinants the most significant are the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) legislative framework, socio-cultural environment, economic conditions, public awareness of the rights and needs of minors in relation to SRH, sexuality education, availability of appropriate healthcare services and access to modern contraceptive choice. The general and individual biological and psychosocial characteristics of adolescents, the influence of the family and peers, as well as school performance and aspirations comprise the major micro determinants of the access of contraception for minors. Due to different historical, sociocultural, political, and economical conditions, a diversity exists across Europe in means and motives of teenagers to use reliable contraception, societal acceptance of sexual activity among teenagers, commitment of different European countries to prevent teenage pregnancy, prevalence of health risk behaviours among teenagers, as well as in sexual and reproductive health care for migrant population and vulnerable groups. Recognition of SRH needs of minors, easy access of contraception, reimbursement of contraceptive methods and higher prevalence rates for medical contraceptive methods usually result in low teenage pregnancy rates.