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Barriers to and Facilitators of South Asian Immigrant Adolescents' Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in Canada: A Qualitative Study

Publication Date: 12/01/2021

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Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality

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Salima Meherali

Bukola Salami

Philomina Okeke-Ihejirika

Helen Vallianatos

Gillian Stevens


Data on immigrant access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in Canada typically focus on adult populations generally but not adolescents specifically. To fill this gap, this study explored South Asian immigrant adolescents' perceptions of barriers and facilitators for SRH care and services in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

In this qualitative descriptive study, researchers conducted six focus group semi-structured interviews with South Asian immigrant adolescents who live in Edmonton, Canada. Barriers included fear of stigma and judgment, lack of information about the healthcare system, lack of privacy and youth-friendly SRH services, lack of comprehensive sexuality education, lack of trust of online SRH information, and language barriers. Facilitators included SRH information classes at school, parental support, and provision of free services.

South Asian immigrant adolescents expressed their need for more inclusive and relevant sexual health education, more support from parents and teachers with adequate and evidence-based SRH information and effective communication strategies to enhance communication with adolescents, and more youth-driven integrated health promotion programs to allow them to make informed choices. Their voices and perspectives are useful in informing inclusive and youth-centered sexual health education at home, in school, and in the community.