n African Journal of Reproductive Health - Youth and HIV/AIDS in Africa : a call for effective policies and programs - : editorial

Volume 16, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1118-4841
  • E-ISSN: 2141-3606


Recent demographic data indicate that Africa consists largely of a youthful population as compared to other regions of the World. United Nations data indicate that in 2010, there were 364 million Africans aged 15-34 years, and 209 million aged 15-24 years, accounting for 35.6% and 20.2% respectively of Africa's total population. It is widely believed that Africa has a unique opportunity to invest in youth development as part of an overall strategy to secure its growth and economic prosperity. However, for many African youth, the transition through adolescence continues to be fraught with several challenges and difficulties. These include pervading high rates of poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and underemployment, violence, sexual coercion and exploitation, substance abuse and other deviant social behaviors. Coupled with high rates of judgmental values by adults and negative societal/cultural attitudes which deny young people access to appropriate information and services including on sexual and reproductive health, it is not surprising that African youths currently have some of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the world.

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