Percent of youth who believe they could seek sexual and reproductive health information and services if they needed them

Percent of youth who believe they could seek sexual and reproductive health information and services if they needed them

Percent of youth who believe they could seek sexual and reproductive health information and services if they needed them

This indicator measures the self-efficacy and perception of access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and services among individuals aged 15-24 years. It is primarily a measure of self-efficacy.

Examples of SRH information and services can include:

  • Information on condom use, contraception, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV
  • Provision of family planning counseling and methods
  • STI/HIV counseling  and testing and treatment
  • Antenatal care
  • Counseling and treatment for sexual and gender-based violence

This indicator is calculated as:

(Number of 15-24 year olds who believe they could obtain SRH information and services if they needed them / Total number of 15 to 24 year olds surveyed) x 100

Data Requirement(s):

Self-report from surveys indicating a yes/no response to whether or not they feel they could access SRH information and services.

This data could also be disaggregated by location, sex, socioeconomic status, marital status, and educational attainment. The questionnaire can ask about specific information and services (i.e. if the respondent felt they could obtain condoms or if they could attend a voluntary counseling and testing site to seek information  and/or testing on HIV).

Evaluators may want to disaggregate by the following age ranges: 10-14, 15-19, and 20-24.

Self-reported responses from surveys; interviews with youth

Similar to the Demographic and Health Surveys/AIDS Indicator Survey (DHS/AIS) “perception of access to condoms by young people”, this indicator measures the prevalence of perceived access to SRH information and services among youth and is considered important to monitor as a determinant of SRH information and service use, as it assesses the reported self-efficacy of young people for accessing SRH information and service use
if they were to need them (WHO 2007). It is a useful intermediate measurement between knowledge of SRH information and services and their actual use as it could predict the behavior of SRH service utilization.

This can also be used as a measure of effectiveness of outreach from youth-friendly RH services, peer-education, or other communication aimed at educating adolescents have been in making their services known, available and accessible.

There is the possibility of reporting bias within this indicator because respondents feel obliged to answer in the affirmative. In addition, even if respondents feel they could obtain the services, it does not mean they actually will or can, due to personal issues as well as institutional barriers related to access and stigma. As with most indicators measuring attitudes and beliefs, the prevalence for perceived ability to access SRH information and services is expected to be higher than actual use (WHO 2007).

access, empowerment, behavior, adolescent

In some cultures, unmarried adolescent girls have less access to SRH information and services than boys due to discriminatory policies limiting SRH services to unmarried women or girls, less exposure to mass media messages, lower rates of school attendance, lower literacy, and limited mobility outside the home. These factors may lead girls to feel they have less agency and limited ability to access these services if they needed them.  Married girls may also have limited mobility and access to services.


Luszczynska, A., & Schwarzer, R., 2005 Social cognitive theory. In M. Conner & P. Norman (Eds.), Predicting health behaviour (2nd ed. rev., pp. 127-169). Buckingham, England: Open University Press.

Bandura, A., 1994 Self-efficacy. In V. S. Ramachaudran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human behavior (Vol. 4, pp. 71-81). New York: Academic Press. (Reprinted in H. Friedman [Ed.], Encyclopedia of mental health. San Diego: Academic Press, 1998).

WHO, 2007 Introduction Access to Health Services for Young People for Preventing HIV and Improving Sexual and Reproductive Health.

Related content

Social and Behavior Change Communication

Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Services