Reproductive health of married young women in the era of AIDS: present status and policy implications in India

Avishek Hazra, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Sandip Chakraborty, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Puspita Datta, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Faujdar Ram, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

In Indian societies, while, majority of the girls are married at a very low age and become sexually active, they often lack basic knowledge about reproductive and sexual health problems and prevention measures. Using DLHS-RCH-2 (2002-04) dataset, present paper investigates reproductive health status among young married women (15-24 years), extent of knowledge regarding RTI/STI, HIV/AIDS and prevalence of safe motherhood in India. The focus of the paper is to examine how utilization of reproductive health care services varies with the change in knowledge level regarding RTI/STI and HIV/AIDS, and change in the reproductive health status. Husbands of young married women are also included in the analysis. Findings confirm that at the national level, only about 16 percent of young wives and 23 percent of their husbands has ‘adequate’ knowledge about HIV/AIDS. The situation is worse regarding the ‘adequate’ knowledge about RTI/STI among them. Results of multivariate analysis suggest that with increase in the score of knowledge index, the propensity to utilize reproductive health care services increases and the reproductive health problems decreases. In India, still nine percent of young women and their husbands falls in the ‘vulnerable group’ in the sense that they are already having two or more children, still want more child within two years, have ‘inadequate’ knowledge about RTI/STI and HIV/AIDS. The paper notes that special emphasis should be given to the young married women as well as their husbands to make them more aware about the problems and prevention measures of reproductive and sexual health.

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Presented in Poster Session 3