Despite the progress made in the past 10 years, with a 46% decline in new HIV infections among young people (15–24 years), the world is still behind on achieving the targets set for young people. Progress is uneven, with steep reductions in new HIV infections among young people in some countries, in particular in eastern and southern Africa, but limited progress in reducing HIV incidence among young key populations in most countries. Additional efforts need to be made to address the structural factors that increase the vulnerability of adolescent girls, young women and young key populations and their risk of acquiring HIV, such as gender inequalities, gender-based violence, poverty, stigma and discrimination, and insufficient implementation of comprehensive sexuality education programmes. National prevention strategies and programmes must holistically address the needs of young people in all their diversity, especially young women and young key populations in high-incidence locations. Globally, only one in three young people demonstrate accurate knowledge of HIV prevention. Access to high-quality, gender-responsive, age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education programmes, both in school and out of school, must be urgently strengthened. Barriers to the participation of young people need to be removed and support for their meaningful engagement and leadership in all HIV-related processes and decision-making spaces needs to be scaled up to ensure the sustainability of responses led by young people.
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