In Asia, 95% of young people diagnosed with HIV fall into at least one of these groups.17 Young people are vulnerable to HIV at two stages of their lives; early in the first decade of life when HIV can be transmitted from mother-to-child, sometimes known as vertical transmission (see children and HIV), and the second decade of life when adolescence brings new vulnerability to HIV.Around 70% of adolescents living with HIV will have acquired it through vertical transmission and so will have been living with the virus since birth.18 Whilst programmes to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) have been hugely successful in recent years, reducing new infections among adolescents is more difficult.19 There are many factors that put young people at an elevated risk of HIV.
For others, it is the result of being forced to have unprotected sex, or to inject drugs.23 The age of sexual debut is rising, showing a positive change in attitudes among young people with regards to sexual behaviour.24 However, it is still relatively low in many countries, particularly in Africa, and lower among adolescent girls than boys in low- and middle-income countries.25 26 It is common for young people to become sexually active by late adolescence.
UNICEF estimates that between 30-50% of girls will give birth to their first child before 19.27 While only a small percentage of adolescents will become sexually active before the age of 15 (roughly 11% for girls), evidence suggests that some children as young as five are exposed to sexual activities directly or indirectly.
Young people (10 to 24 years) and adolescents (10 to 19 years), especially young women and young key populations, continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV.
In 2016, 2.1 million people aged between 10 and 19 years were living with HIV and 260,000 became newly infected with the virus.1 The number of adolescents living with HIV has risen by 30% between 20.
Adolescence and early adulthood is a critical period of development when significant physical and emotional changes occur.
Adolescents and young people have growing personal autonomy and responsibility for their individual health.
2 The number of adolescents dying due to AIDS-related illnesses tripled between 20, the only age group to have experienced a rise.3 In 2016, 55,000 adolescents between the ages of 10-19 had died through AIDS-related causes.4AIDS is now the leading cause of death among young people in Africa and the second leading cause of death among young people worldwide.5 The majority of young people living with HIV are in low- and middle-income countries, with 84% in sub-Saharan Africa.6 In fact, half of the 15 to 19-year-olds who are living with HIV in the world live in just six countries: South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, India, Mozambique and Tanzania.7 In 2016, 73% of new HIV infections among adolescents occurred in Africa.8Many African countries already have youthful populations - for example, 51% of the population of South Sudan are under the age of 18.9 It is estimated that the number of 10 to 24-year-old Africans is set to rise to more than 750 million by 2060.
This means that, even if current progress is maintained, new HIV infections among young people are expected to increase.
Since 1967, on or around Hans Christian Andersen's birthday, 2 April, International Children's Book Day (ICBD) is celebrated to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children's books.
Each year a different National Section of IBBY has the opportunity to be the international sponsor of ICBD.