Novel Approaches for Addressing Age of Consent as a Barrier to Adolescents' Care Utilization and Engagement
Laws intended to protect children and adolescents are often riddled with inconsistencies, omissions, and stipulations that create a barrier to service access, utilization, and the full and meaningful engagement of adolescents in their own care. Policies on age of consent to HIV prevention, testing, and care vary among countries and the World Health Organization encourages ministries of health to revisit these policies in light of the need to uphold adolescents’ rights to make choices about their own health and well-being.
On February 13, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) hosted a webinar to examine contextualized policy and programming solutions to this tension. The webinar featured presenters from the Government of the Philippines, who shared their experiences with age of consent policies, and Health Policy Plus, who introduced participants to a new framework for distinguishing the evolving capacity and maturity of children when determining age of consent and a child’s right to express their preferences.
A recording of the webinar is available from Children and AIDS, the information portal and community for UNICEF’s HIV and AIDS program.