Few young people receive adequate preparation for their sexual lives. This leaves them potentially vulnerable to coercion, abuse and exploitation, unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
Many young people approach adulthood faced with conflicting and confusing messages about sexuality and gender. This is often exacerbated by embarrassment, silence, and disapproval of open discussion of sexual matters by adults, including parents and teachers, at the very time when it is most needed. Globally, young people are becoming sexually mature and active at an earlier age. They are also marrying later, thereby extending the period of time from sexual debut until marriage.
It is therefore essential to recognise the need and entitlement of all young people to sexuality education.
Some young people are more vulnerable than others, particularly those with disabilities and those living with HIV.