n South African Medical Journal - The sexual and reproductive health needs of youth in South Africa - history in context : editorial

Volume 104, Issue 10
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Adolescence is a time of rapid transition, of significant emotional, physical and psychological changes. These changes influence behaviour, in particular decisions to engage in risky behaviour, including sexual activity, alcohol consumption, smoking and taking drugs. Eighty-eight per cent of the 1.2 billion adolescents worldwide live in developing countries where access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services that could support them are often inadequate and fragmented. Unplanned pregnancies can affect the health and wellbeing of adolescents, placing them at risk for morbidity and mortality related to unsafe abortion and childbirth, as well as limiting their educational and employment opportunities.

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