“Boys Remain Prestigious, Girls Become Prostitutes”: Socio-Cultural Context of Relationships and Sex among Young People in Nepal

  •  Pramod Regmi    
  •  Padam Simkhada    
  •  Edwin van Teijlingen    


One of the key characteristics of many developing countries compared to more developed countries is that their
population is relatively young, and a proportion of those young people are becoming sexually active each year.
The last two decades has seen a growing concern worldwide of the spread of HIV/AIDS, but, of course, young
people face a range of socio-economic, cultural, psychological and sexual health-related problems at that time of
their life. Very little research has been conducted in this area into Nepalese young people’s problems. Our
qualitative study explores key problems faced by Nepalese youths with particular emphasis on sexual and
reproductive health issues. The findings of ten focus group discussions with a total of 75 participants and 31
in-depth individual interviews indicated that many young people of Nepal face a range socio-economic,
psychological, sexual and reproductive health-related problems. Unemployment, less opportunity for sex and
entertainment, stress, curiosity, communication gap and poor sex education and sexual health services were
frequently reported problems. In addition there was a gender difference around sex with young women (girls)
having fewer opportunities and less freedom than young men (boys). In order improve young people’s sexual
health, more attention needs to be given to rigorous research and the design and implementation of appropriate
interventions. Young people’s ability to make informed choices about their own health and risk behaviour should
be enhanced.

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