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Promoting the Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health of Adolescents and Youth: Building on the Global Health Initiative Country Strategies & Supplemental Guidance on the Women, Girls, and Gender Equality Principle

Today’s generation of young people is the largest in history—nearly half of the world’s population is under the age of 25. This large demographic of young people presents the worldwith an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate economic development and reduce poverty. However, young people, especially adolescent girls and young women, suffer disproportionately from negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes, which challenge their ability to contribute to their communities’ and countries’ development. Young people face substantial social and economic barriers in accessing sexual and reproductive health information and services, which is evidenced by persistently high levels of unmet need for contraception, maternal mortality, and HIV incidence. Young women aged 15 to 19 are twice as likely to die in childbirth as adult women, and half of all new HIV infections occur in young people between the ages of 15 and 24. Such negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes have economic, social, and health consequences that affect young people throughout their lives, as well as their families, countries, and the global community at large.

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