Sex Res Social Policy. 2022 May 13:1-14. doi: 10.1007/s13178-022-00724-9. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Homelessness has become a major global and public health challenge, especially in low- and middle-income countries. This phenomenon predisposes young adults to severe psychosocial and health challenges.
AIM: To explore the sexual and reproductive health needs and behaviours of homeless young adults and challenges in accessing these services.
METHODS: A semi-structured interview guide was used for data collection from in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews. Data were collected between 01 June and 31 July 2020 from 30 participants using in-depth interviews, two focus group discussions involving 12 participants, and one key informant interview. Thematic analysis was used to analyse transcripts from the interviews.
RESULTS: The findings show that certain behavioural patterns associated with homelessness impact the lives of homeless young adults in their sexual and reproductive health (SRH) choices, beliefs, and perspectives. This group faces several challenges in accessing sexual and reproductive health services (SRHS) such as modern contraceptives and abortion care. The high cost, and undesirable and unfriendly attitude of service providers in health facilities pose as barriers to accessing SRHS by homeless young adults.
CONCLUSION: Sustainable and proactive measures must be put in place to address the identified barriers. Timely delivery of accurate information and educative materials, ensuring affordability, and setting up of accessible and friendly facilities could improve SRHS for this group.
SOCIAL AND PUBLIC POLICY IMPLICATIONS: This study may inform and support policy guideline development to address homelessness and SRH needs of young adults in urban Ghana.