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Why Confidentiality Is Critical to Adolescents’ Access to Health Care

For many reasons, guaranteeing confidential access to health care services is paramount to promoting teen health.

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Teen Pregnancy Prevention and Reproductive Justice: What’s the Real Problem?

Does teen pregnancy prevention focus on the wrong thing? Are we vilifying the choice young mothers make instead of advocating for policies that would help them? And, are we unfairly targeting young Latinas?

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Maria Talks and Suddenly Lawmakers are Listening: The Controversy Over A Website Providing Sex Information for Teens

Maria Talks, a website with frank sexual health information for young people, suddenly has a lot of critics who think it’s too explicit. I talk with one of the websites creators to get her take on the site and the controversy.

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(VIDEO) A Woman’s Right to Choose

I am a woman who can choose from many paths. Perhaps most importantly, I can choose whether or not I want to have sex, if I want to use a form of contraception, if I want to get married, and how many children I want to have. I know I am fortunate. In many developing countries, women are without these choices.  

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Believe It or Not: Global Leaders Mark World AIDS Day With No Mention of Youth

Last week I attended a World AIDS Day Event at the World Bank. Yet despite the fact that in many countries young people are at greatest risk of HIV and there are 3 billion people under 25 worldwide, not one expert mentioned youth.

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Reproductive Control in Teen Relationships

Studies have shown teen pregnancy to be strongly linked to intimate partner violence. But attempts to control don’t stop there. A recent UC-Davis study finds that abusive teen boys may actively try to get their partners pregnant.

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Sexually Transmitted Infections Increasing

A recent article in The Globe and Mail reveals that teen pregnancy and abortions are both declining in Canada. However, sexually transmitted infections are continuing to increase.

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Wolfowitz Comes Under Fire for Personal and Political Blunders

Naina Dhingra is the Director of International Policy at Advocates for Youth and serves on the Developed Country NGO Board Delegation of the Global Fund.

The annual spring meetings of the World Bank will be held this weekend in Washington, D.C. amidst turmoil and controversy surrounding its head, Paul Wolfowitz. Wolfowitz, better known for his role as a former Bush official central to the planning of the Iraq war, came under fire yesterday for impropriety surrounding the promotion and pay raise of his girlfriend, Shaha Riza. Wolfowitz, who has been outspoken on the need to get rid of corruption in development during his tenure at the World Bank, made the hourly CNN newsfeed for helping Riza secure a high paying special assignment to the State Department when he joined the Bank.

As if he didn't have enough problems, the Financial Times reported last night that reproductive health policies have been under attack under Wolfowitz due to the appointment of Juan José Daboub to managing director. Daboub is a former member of the ruling conservative party of Ecuador. The FT reports that Daboub is "attempting to radically alter a long-standing health strategy at the World Bank" and that "there was a widespread perception within the bank that the emphasis on contraception in preventing disease was being altered following the appointment [of Daboub]."

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Youth, Wealth and HIV Prevention

Nyovani Janet Madise is a senior research scientist at the African Population & Health Research Center (a research partner of the Guttmacher Institute) in Nairobi, Kenya. She is in New York today to participate in a United Nations panel on youth as part of the 40th session of the Commission and Population and Development.

I just arrived in New York, among other reasons to participate in a panel discussion today titled "Preparing the Next Generation—Safeguarding Adolescents' Healthy Transition to Adulthood." The panel is a side event on the occasion of the meeting of the UN's Commission on Population and Development.

My recent work has focused on solving what at first glance may seem like a contradiction: The poorest adolescents in Africa engage in riskier sexual behavior, but, according to recent evidence, the wealthiest adolescents have the highest rates of HIV. I suspect that this may be because wealthier young people can afford to have sexual relationships with more partners, thus increasing their exposure to the virus.

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We Hate Bratz

"We hate Bratz dolls. Right, Mommy?"

My four-year old daughter makes me proud in the toy aisle at Target. We're looking for a gift for one of her girlfriends who is turning five soon. My daughter's mimicry of my intense hatred towards a slew of popular young girls' dolls like Barbie and Bratz may be rote but it's firmly implanted. For a toy company like Bratz or Mattel, makers of all things Barbie, there is no getting around my maternal barricade; at least for as long as my daughter believes that mama knows best. This, however, is not the case for millions of young girls in this country. Girls as young as three-years old are now the direct targets of marketing campaigns hawking things like toys and clothing with obvious overtones of sex and sexuality. Add advertising and media content that over-emphasize the importance of physical appearance and sexual appeal for women and according to the American Psychological Association's (APA) latest report, The Sexualization of Girls, you've got a "broad and increasing problem" that is "harmful to girls."

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