The Persistence of Peers: Reproductive and Sexual Health Information Channels in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan

Cynthia Buckley, University of Texas at Austin
Kristen Adkins, University of Texas at Austin
Jennifer Barrett, University of Texas at Austin

Previous research raises doubts regarding the accuracy of peer based information on reproductive and sexual health, particularly for young adults. Health programs often seek to expand information channels for young adults, incorporating media efforts, increased familial awareness of educational needs, increasing access to medical professionals, and expanding health education in schools. We examine the effect of large scale family planning programs and information channels in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Efforts to improve reproductive health succeeded in raising contraceptive knowledge and use in both countries. However, using two waves of Demographic and Health Surveys, internviews, and focus groups, we find heavy reliance on peer information channels persists among young men and women (15-19). We conclude with a comnparative assessment of the structual and cultural contextual issues at work and the long term reproductive and sexual health risks.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Education, Gender, Religion, Language and Culture