Attitudes of Icelandic Young People Toward Sexual and Reproductive Health Services

Bender, Sóley S.
November 1999
Family Planning Perspectives;Nov/Dec99, Vol. 31 Issue 6, p294
Academic Journal
Context: Iceland has higher levels of fertility among both adult women and adolescents than many other western European countries. There is a need to make sexual and reproductive health services more accessible to teenagers in Iceland. Methods: A descriptive, cross-sectional national postal survey was conducted in 1996 to explore the attitudes of 2,500 young people aged 17-20 toward sexual and reproductive health services in Iceland and to determine which factors might be of importance for the development of such services. Results: Icelandic adolescents want specialized sexual and reproductive health services offered within a broad-based service setting. Half of them would prefer to have these services located in a sexual and reproductive health clinic, and about one-third want such services to be located in community health centers. Having services that are free, that are anonymous and that do not require an appointment are important to teenagers who live in Reykjavik, but proximity and equal access to services are more highly valued by adolescents who live outside Reykjavik. Characteristics that young women, in particular, value include close proximity to services, access to a comfortable environment, a friendly staff, absolute confidentiality, and the ability to come with a friend and to have enough time for discussion. Adolescents who have already used contraceptive services mentioned that they need enough time for discussion and that they value high-quality client-provider interaction. Conclusions: The attitudes of adolescents should be considered when specialized sexual and reproductive health services are developed for young people in Iceland. Specialized services that respond to the unique concerns of adolescents may increase their utilization of contraceptive methods and other reproductive health services.


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