What is sexual reproductive health?

When we talk about sexual reproductive health (SRH) we mean the processes, functions and system of reproduction (having children). SRH refers to your right to have a satisfying, healthy, safe sex life and freedom to decide if, when and how to reproduce (have children).

Learning about your sexual reproductive health is important for all people regardless of gender or age, and access to information and services about reproductive health should be given to everyone so that they can understand and access safe, effective, affordable birth control and family planning services. 

Your reproductive rights

Your reproductive health has a lot to do with your intimate sexual health. South Africa’s constitution gives you the right to make your own choices about your reproductive health and activity. In other words, Choma, you have a legal right to access information on SRH, decide whether to have or not have children, use contraceptives (and choose the method you would like to use) and access safe clinics. No one has the right to force you into doing anything you don’t want to when it comes to your sexual reproductive health.

You also have the right to safely go through pregnancy and childbirth if you have decided to do so.

You can read more about your reproductive rights here.

Your reproductive responsibilities

You also need to remember that everyone has the same reproductive rights as you. So, it is important that you respect the rights of your partner, friends and family members by not forcing them to make specific reproductive choices. If your partner has stated that they do not want to have children, it is your responsibility to respect their decision.

Both you and your partner have the right to use safe and effective methods of contraception, and the responsibility to make informed choices.

How to improve your sexual reproductive health

Always practice safe sex: Make sure you’re always using a condom properly during sex to prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancy.

You can learn more about how to use male and female condoms by reading the articles I’ve written on them, and you can read this article to find out more about STIs.

Use your voice: Now that you know your rights, use your voice to clearly express these rights. If you’re in need of information or assistance, speak to a health care provider at your nearest clinic or health facility – and if you feel you are being unfairly treated or intimidated, express your concerns to the appropriate authorities (like the head nurse or doctor at a clinic).

Be responsible: You have the responsibility to avoid any unhealthy behaviour when it comes to your sexual reproductive health. Be sure that you’re staying informed and taking steps to prevent unwanted pregnancy and STIs. If you have any reason to feel unsure about your sexual health, go for an STI test.

Never forget that you have the right to make your own choices about your reproductive health. At the end of the day Choma, taking control over your reproductive health will give you confidence and make you feel healthier and happier. If you would like more information about sexual reproductive health, you can access it here: http://hivsa.com/sites/default/files/sexual_reproduction.pdf

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).