The sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people are a pressing concern everywhere in the world. The world's 1.2 billion adolescents aged 10 -- 19 account for 18% of the global population.1 While their situation differs across regions and countries, adolescents share basic rights pertaining to sexual and reproductive health, such as equality, privacy, dignity, freedom from harm and freedom to choose whether or not to marry. They also need information and services to support healthy decisionmaking related to sexuality and reproduction.
Adolescents' needs vary depending on many factors: their stage of physical and emotional development, whether they are married, whether they have become mothers or fathers, whether they are sexually active, and what type of sexual activity and relationship they are engaged in. For example, an estimated one in four women aged 15 -- 19 in the developing world is married or in union -- that is, living with a partner. Marriage that takes place during adolescence is often not decided by the adolescents themselves, and young women in particular may lack power relative to older partners. Moreover, unmarried adolescents who engage in sexual activity typically face societal disapproval, which can prevent them from receiving the information and services that they need to protect their health