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Without Sex Education: exploring the social and sexual vulnerabilities of rural Bangladeshi girls and boys

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In 1997, two organizations, BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) and ICDDR,B (International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research), as part of their collaborative research model, developed an HIV/AIDS prevention strategy for rural Bangladeshi youth. Currently, HIV/AIDS is not apparent in rural Bangladesh. Other sexual and reproductive health problems are more pressing. Moreover, there are few inor out-of-school sex education programs for adolescents in Bangladesh. Therefore, preliminary qualitative research was conducted to understand the broad parameters of sexual and reproductive health within the sociocultural context of young people's risks and vulnerabilities. Exploratory research revealed that youth were vulnerable to sexual diseases, late-term abortions, sexual violence, reproductive tract infections, and premarital pregnancies. Adolescents and adults thought that youth today need sex education. Adults said that youth should not be educated about condom use because this would conflict with a girl's prospects for an arranged marriage. Bangladeshi youth today are being exposed to experiences unfamiliar to their parents. Lacking appropriate knowledge, information and awareness about sexual and reproductive health unduly heightens young people's fears, and increases their social and sexual vulnerabilities.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2001

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