The children

The Children in Belize

Early Childhood

Primary School Years



Sexual Reproduction

© UNICEF Belize/2011/ADHoare
Young mother with baby on her back

Young people's sexual reproductive health is an area that requires increased attention in policies and programmes.Young people face increasing risks for poor reproductive health outcomes largely owing to the absence of youth friendly services.  Teen pregnancy rates continue to be high. Compounding this problem are educational policies in most schools that do not allow teen mothers to continue in the formal school system once they are pregnant or once they have given birth. They are denied their right to an education by school officials who feel that they may be a bad influence on other girl students. Contraceptive use has decreased in Belize in the past years for unknown reasons and limited family planning education is available to this age group. Adolescents are also very susceptible to contracting HIV/AIDS. This is especially so for girls and may be due in part to their early start of sexual activity with research showing that sexual activity can begin as early as 11 years. In tourist areas and areas of migrant labor, it is reported that schoolgirls engage in unprotected sex with older men to get basic needs, such as food or transportation, as well as other material goods, namely brand-name clothing and money. These behaviors increase their vulnerability to contracting HIV/AIDS and other STIs. Adolescents who have been abused have been shown to be even more vulnerable to contracting STIs than their peers who are engaged in consensual sex.



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