February 12th is observed as Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day. The objective of this is to:
- Increase awareness about sexual and reproductive health issues
- Reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections & diseases
A large number of people, especially women get married at an early age in India, several of them even before the legal age of 18. This is often followed by having kids at an earlier age, many a times as a result of unplanned pregnancy. One of the reasons for this can be lack of access to proper information about contraceptives and family planning. This is more prominent in rural households vis a vis urban ones.
Some of the major issues pertaining to sexual and reproductive health are lack of proper awareness about reproductive health system, practice of safe sex, sexually transmitted infections and diseases, fertility issues, family planning, abortions, contraceptives, misinformation and taboos associated with menstrual cycles etc.
The topic of sex and sexual health is unfortunately, a taboo in most of the places in India. As a result, there is often lack of information and often misinformation about the topic. As a result, a large chunk of population has limited information about this and this can often be a result of certain health issues in future.
With right information and counseling, lot of issues pertaining to sexual and reproductive health can be avoided. Right information can help many people, who otherwise have limited knowledge owing to social and cultural norms, lead a better quality of life. While such programs should start at an early age, Adolescence Education Program has not achieved much success due to cultural reasons and associated taboos.
The National Population Stabilisation Fund has started a helpline to provide counseling services and answers to queries on sexual and reproductive health related issues. The team handing the queries consists of health executives as well as doctors. Some of the issues they help to address are issues related to sexual health concerns, safe sex, sexually transmitted infections & diseases, infertility, pregnancy, contraception, abortions, puberty, menopause etc.
The helpline number is 1800-11-6555*. Complete confidentiality is maintained in these cases.
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