Worldwide, nearly 10 percent of people are ages 10 to 14, and in developing countries, the percentage is often higher (e.g., Uganda, 16 percent).1 Early adolescence marks a critical time of physical, developmental, and social changes.
Interagency Youth Working Group, IYWG
To help those interested in using sexuality education to improve youth sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), working with partners, developed the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (ITGSE)
Adolescence is a time when gender disparities between boys and girls become more pronounced. While many boys stay focused on school, girls often have more responsibilities at home.
Girls in many resource-poor countries often have little choice about whom or when they marry. Orphans and young girls without involved caregivers are particularly vulnerable to early marriage. Early marriage curtails girls’ freedom, isolates them from peers, and ends their education prematurely.
Attention paid to adults most at risk for HIV/AIDS - people who sell sex, those who inject drugs, and men who have sex with men (MSM) - is growing. Unfortunately, the particular needs of young people (ages 10 to 24) in these groups have drawn little focus.
Young people are exposed to alcohol at many levels in society, particularly through advertising and peer pressure. As a result, harmful drinking habits are on the rise among adolescents and other youth.
Review of evaluated programs shows well-designed programs work, but implementation issues remain challenging. Recent research has confirmed and expanded earlier findings concerning the positive impacts of reproductive health (RH) and HIV education programs.