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HEREDIA-MARTINEZ, Henny Luz; ARTMANN, Elizabeth  and  NASCIMENTO, Marcos. Unveiling gender barriers to adolescents’ access to information on sexual and reproductive health in Venezuela. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2020, vol.36, n.4, e00193918.  Epub Apr 22, 2020. ISSN 1678-4464.

The objective was to analyze the discourses of adolescents and health professionals in a state of Venezuela concerning this age group’s access to information on sexual and reproductive health. Interviews were conducted with 12 adolescents and 12 health professionals and processed with Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis. The results were structured in three themes: gender inequalities; strategies used by adolescents; and difficulties in the health services. The arguments revealed that matricentric family culture limits girls’ access to information on sexual health. Greater effort is required of girls and homosexual adolescents to access information. Both of them seek health services outside their area of residence, due to fear of the family or lack of trust in professional secrecy. The prime sources for adolescents to information are friends and the Internet. One of the main challenges is to recognize the institutional devices acting in Venezuelan society, with greater force in power relations in the family, school, and health services. Such barriers reinforce the “sexual double standard”, perpetuating models of patriarchal domination. The naturalization of such models allows the silent reproduction of beliefs and attitudes, causing gender inequalities in access to health services. Changes in the provision of services offered to adolescents involve renegotiation of traditional subjective positions in user-provider interaction and deconstruction of gender relations. Possible changes will be engendered with participation by new generations of adolescents, health professionals, parents, and teachers, producing more equitable gender discourses and norms.

Keywords : Adolescent; Gender Identify; Health Services; Equity in Access to Health Services; Sexual Health.

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