Provision of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Education to Out-Of-School Adolescents and Young People Living with HIV


As the number of young people living with HIV steadily increases, several actions have been taken by the government, Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and International Agencies to help mitigate the issue of inadequate knowledge on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for young People Living with HIV (YPLHIV). On that account, the UNFPA Out-Of-School  Reproductive Health Education (OOS RHE) project funded by UNFPA and implemented by Hope for Future Generations (HFFG) was introduced to provide a safe platform for YPLHIV in their diversities to learn about SRHR and positive living to eradicate the myths and misconceptions surrounding SRHR and HIV.


The UNFPA Out of School Sexual Reproductive Health Education program took stride in 2019 after UNFPA and HFFG trained young people living with HIV as peer educators for the program. It officially commenced implementation from 2020 and ended in 2022. This program seeks to empower YPLHIV with quality and adequate information, attitude and skills on SRHR to facilitate the process of making healthy decisions and to communicate their choices clearly. It was implemented in 3 regions: Greater Accra, Ashanti and the Northern regions. The program targeted adolescents and young people between the ages of 12 and 24 years from different facilities across the 3 regions of implementation. 

Peer educators were equipped with knowledge on various areas such as, sexuality and gender roles, positive living, stigma and discrimination, PMTCT, STI and HIV, condom use and preventing pregnancy, relationship, communication, ending stigma and discrimination, resisting drug use and gender-based violence and advocacy. With a set of 10 peer educators for each region, the peer educators were tasked to collectively mobilize 18 YPLHIV who were within the age range of 12-24 for each quarter. The mobilization process leveraged on existing structures like the ART staff and Models of Hope, who ensured that YPLHIV participated in the program. The educational sessions spanned 6 weeks for each cohort. The lessons are held on mostly on Saturdays for each set of YPLHIV participants 

The peer educators/facilitators took turns to facilitate the various topics, using interactive and fun methods to deliver the education. The sessions are conducted in safe spaces, to encourage participants to engage and ask questions they were too shy to ask at home or the health provider. The pre-test questionnaire administered to participants at the start of the sessions under the OOS program revealed that participant’s knowledge on SRHR was very limited or inadequate. Through the interactions with the young participants, it came to light that they were facing a lot of SRHR related challenges and some of them were still holding on to myths and misconceptions surrounding their sexual health and their status as young persons living with HIV. The program helped participants to come to the realization that HIV should never define them or limit. In addition, participants learnt about positive living and  made the decision not to pass on HIV to their children. The first phase of the project ended in December 2022, but the next phase has started and plans are far advanced to engage key stakeholders and solicit their support for the current phase. Across the Health facilities too, Young PLHIV are being mobilized for the SRHR sessions


As YPLHIV are encouraged to adhere to ART at the facility level, empowerment with knowledge on SRHR goes a long way to improve their quality of life as it helps them in making informed choices. A total of 719 YPLHIV, 329 males and 390 females, were reached directly with SRHR educational sessions. 100 YPLHIV were empowered with skills that enabled them to generate income to support themselves. The program helped mobilize over 700 YPLHIV to join an organized and legally recognized entity known as Young Health Advocates Ghana that acts as a big support group advocating for improved health outcomes.

Stigma and discrimination is still persistent and make mobilization of adolescents and YPLHIV difficult.