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Population Briefs

Study Highlights Data Needed to Reduce Child Marriage

Study Highlights Data Needed to Reduce Child Marriage

Few investigations have explored the diversity of married girls’ experiences depending on how old they were when they got married. A new study by the Population Council’s Ethiopia country director, Annabel Erulkar, highlights the unique vulnerability of Ethiopia’s youngest married girls and calls for specific programs to delay marriage among those under age 15—a population of young girls often missed by current programs aimed at curbing child marriage.

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Population Briefs

Lessons from a Decade of MSM Research in Sub-Saharan Africa

Lessons from a Decade of MSM Research in Sub-Saharan Africa

It has been just over a decade since the first large behavioral survey of men who have sex with men (MSM) in Africa was conducted by the Population Council in Senegal. To uncover what has been learned since then and to explore future directions for research and programs for MSM, Scott Geibel, Nicholas Muraguri, and Marleen Temmerman—all experts at organizations at the forefront of addressing these issues—reviewed the existing research and offered guidelines for the next decade of research and policy.

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Population Briefs

Understanding and Empowering Migrant Girls

Understanding and Empowering Migrant Girls

People have always migrated as they seek better lives for themselves. This is true even for adolescent girls, who are on the move in ever greater numbers. Because of their age and sex, migrant girls are especially vulnerable to risks, such as exploitative employment. To learn more about the motivations and needs of migrant adolescent girls, Population Council staff and colleagues wrote Girls on the Move: Adolescent Girls & Migration in the Developing World, a new report in the Girls Count series.

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Population Briefs

Researchers Call for a Green Contraceptive Research and Development Agenda

Researchers Call for a Green Contraceptive Research and Development Agenda

“We’ve gone from 30 million contraception users in 1960 to 645 million in 2010—and that number is projected to jump to one billion by the end of the century,” observes John Townsend, vice president and director of the Population Council’s Reproductive Health program. “As more and more women gain access to contraception, we want to make sure that developers, manufacturers, and distributors are doing their part to help protect the environment.”

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Population Briefs

Placing Equality, Respect, and Dignity at the Center of Sexuality and HIV Education

The Landscape

Sexuality and HIV education can help adolescents develop the capacity for healthy, respectful relationships and protect themselves from unwanted and unsafe sex, unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infection. “However,” says Population Council social scientist Nicole Haberland, “only a few curricula actually demonstrate an effect on unintended pregnancy or on sexually transmitted infections. We see the strongest results with those curricula that emphasize gender and power issues. Unfortunately, most curricula still do not address these issues.”

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Population Briefs

Improving Quality of Care in Family Planning

Improving Quality of Care in Family Planning

Population Council researcher Anrudh K. Jain provided some of the first empirical evidence for the relationship between family planning method choice as an aspect of service quality and the prevalence of contraceptive use. Since then, several studies have demonstrated that improving the quality of reproductive health services increases contraceptive use.

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Population Briefs

Ensuring Protections for Young People in Research

Ensuring Protections for Young People in Research
The Landscape

To develop effective programs that help children and adolescents affected by HIV and AIDS, researchers, program managers, and service providers need solid data on their needs and life circumstances. Until 2003, limited guidance existed to help researchers design studies that ensured the full protection of children and adolescents involved in research.

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Population Briefs

Broadening the Response to Population Momentum

Broadening the Response to Population Momentum

Until the mid-1990s, policymakers took a single approach to addressing population growth: increasing access to family planning. But in early 1994, Population Council demographer John Bongaarts published a ground-breaking analysis, “Population policy options in the developing world,” in the journal Science. The article advocated a significantly expanded approach, particularly investing in the lives of adolescent girls, to advance public health and wellbeing while slowing the pace of population growth.

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Population Briefs

Identifying the HIV Risk and Sexual Health Needs of Men Who Have Sex with Men in Africa

The Landscape

In developed countries, it has long been recognized that men who have sex with men (MSM) are at high risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, in Africa, the stigma associated with homosexual behavior—and the fact that it is illegal in some countries—have kept the health needs of MSM largely hidden. As a result, health systems have lacked vital information for creating effective programs and policies that meet the health needs of this at-risk population.

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Population Briefs

Developing Microbicides to Combat HIV Transmission

The Landscape

In the 1980s, at the beginning of the HIV epidemic, AIDS was thought to be primarily a “gay male” disease, and many people wrongly believed that women were not at risk. But just ten years later, the number of infections among women was as high as that among men in sub-Saharan Africa, where HIV was predominantly transmitted through heterosexual sex.

Prevention efforts at the time focused on abstinence or monogamy, treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and condom use. But for many women, social, cultural, and economic inequalities severely limited their ability to protect themselves from infection.

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