Currently, half of the world’s 7 billion people are younger than 25. More than one billion are between the ages of 12 and 24, and of these, nearly 85 percent live in low-resource countries. This age group accounts for more than half of all new HIV infections. In the area of family planning, young people have a high level of unmet need, and between 32% and 94% of births among unmarried young women aged 15 to 19 worldwide are unwanted or unplanned.
Targeting youth and working to improve their sexual and reproductive health is vital to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For example:
- Achieving universal primary education (MDG 2) is not possible when girls drop out of school because of early marriage and pregnancy.
- Reductions in child mortality (MDG 4) and improving maternal health (MDG 5) require a reduction in teen pregnancy, which puts both the mother and child at risk.
- Combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases (MDG 6) requires changes in behavior and norms that can be achieved through educational programs targeting young people.
Half the World, sponsored by the Interagency Youth Working Group (IYWG), complements the IWYG’s Web site by bringing you up-to-date news about youth sexual and reproductive health. The blog features new programs, research, resources, and events. Guest bloggers around the world contribute stories from the field, and readers share their experiences and knowledge.
About the IYWG
The Interagency Youth Working Group (IYWG), funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, provides global technical leadership to advance the reproductive health and HIV/AIDS outcomes of young people ages 10-24 in developing countries by:
- Sharing research and programmatic results and lessons on youth reproductive health and HIV/AIDS with youth health and development communities
- Promoting strategies that move promising research findings and best practices into programs and policies
- Advocating for greater focus on youth within reproductive health and HIV programs
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