We've heard the term sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) used from time to time, is an umbrella for various issues that affect men and women alike. It represents four separate areas: sexual health, sexual rights, reproductive health, and reproductive rights. Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) goes as far as everyone having the right to a safe and enjoyable sex life, people deciding for them if and when they have children. These rights are equally important for both men and women but we have the exception on “women get pregnant, men don’t”, and that women, especially you young women, are more vulnerable than men to sexually transmitted infections and HIV, you also face more severe consequences than men from these diseases. In addition, violence against girls and women, harmful traditional practices, and child, early and forced marriage threaten the sexual and reproductive health of you young girls and women. Let’s understand these situations first before we go to detailed information.
i) Sexual Health - Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It is the ability to embrace and enjoy our sexuality throughout your lives. It is an important part of your physical and emotional health. Sexuality is a big part of being human. Love, affection and sexual intimacy all play a role in healthy relationships.
ii)Sexual Right- Sexual right is the ability to decide on your own about sexuality, having capability of expressing your sexuality, making your own decisions about partners, privacy, and pleasure. You deserve the right to make your own sexual decisions. Sexual rights are basically human rights, are constituted by a set of entitlements related to sexuality that originate from the rights to freedom, equality, privacy, autonomy, integrity and dignity of all people.
iii) Reproductive Health ensures a healthy reproductive system and healthy pregnancies through access to healthcare, medication, and education. Women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health is related to multiple human rights, including the right to life, the right to be free from torture, the right to health, the right to privacy, the right to education, and the prohibition of discrimination.
iv) Reproductive rights include the right to decide if and when to have children. You should be able to plan and make a well- informed decision about having children; reproductive rights also include freedom from discrimination, coercion, and violence when making family planning choices. Every girl should have the right to control your life by having children on your own terms, time and a partner of your choice. It is important to make sure all young girls have access to education, family planning, and health services so that you can all lead happy, healthy lives, with enjoyment of all human rights.
Checking In:- This is essentially ensuring you regularly make all essential health check-ups. Here are some of the key check-ups that need to be made:
ii) Blood Test –Every girl needs a regular blood test to regulate their general health-blood test can give important information such as sugar level, hemoglobin level, viral infections of all kinds including terminal ones such as hepatitis and HIV.
iii) Pap smear-This is a screening procedure to detect cervical cancer; it tests the presence of precancerous and cancerous cells early and is very important for all ladies over the age of 21 to do it every 3 years.
iv) Mammogram - is an x-ray picture of the breast. It can be used to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. It can also be used if you have a lump or other sign of breast cancer.
v) Blood Pressure- Recent studies have shown that heart disease has become common even among children and young adults because of the diet and not exercising; so it has become essential for check-up to all ages, thus girls need to check their blood pressure regularly as well.
vi) Gynecologist Visit- UTI is common among females both young and old and if not treated can lead to other more life threatening infections, so it is good to have a regular UTI test and also general gynecological tests to regulate menstrual cycle and general vaginal health apart from a pap smear.