RSU Leading Researcher Anda Ķīvīte-Urtāne: Information on Sexual and Reproductive Health Must Be Accessible to Children and Youth
The April edition of the magazine Ārsts.lv included an article by Anda Ķīvīte-Urtāne, leading researcher at the Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) Institute of Public Health, on the need to educate young people in Latvia about sexual and reproductive health.
The article, “Educating young people on sexual and reproductive health in Latvia – is it necessary?” (Jauniešu izglītošana par seksuālo un reproduktīvo veselību Latvijā – vai ir vajadzīga?), deals with a number of important issues about the knowledge that Latvian youth have about sexual and reproductive health. The question of who is responsible for providing information to children and young people, however, remains unanswered: should it be parents, teachers, doctors, or governmental and non-governmental organisations?
Research shows that the main sources that young people turn to find information on this topic are school, family, peers, and the internet.
In the article, Anda Ķīvīte-Urtāne, MD, PhD, provides an in-depth analysis of the current situation in Latvia, addressing a number of important issues, such as:
- learning about sexual and reproductive health at school;
- parents’ knowledge of sexual and reproductive health issues and their willingness to discuss the topic with their children;
- the knowledge and skills children and youth have concerning their health.
The author also draws attention to the impact pornography has on children's and young people's perceptions, expectations and attitudes towards sexual relations/ She also highlights what signs to look out for that would indicate that a child or a young person may have been exposed to such content on the internet.
In conclusion, Ķīvīte-Urtāne lists a number of solutions to the problems identified in the article that can be adopted on a family as well as national level. She emphasises that providing children and young people with adequate information on sexual and reproductive health will yield results.