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South African young people will have the opportunity to present their advocacy messages for the inclusion of HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) into the post-2015 agenda at a global scale.

The findings are the result of a gathering of a group of 25 young South Africans including the Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) Members, a group of 11 young people who advocate for the youth agenda under the auspices of UNFPA. The National Youth Meeting, organized by UNAIDS in collaboration with UNFPA for building an alliance to advocate for the inclusion of HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) in the Post 2015, was held in Pretoria on 11 and 12 September 2014.

UNFPA HIV prevention and Youth Development focal point, Tlangelani Shilubane, presented the report on the status of adolescent and youth health in South Africa; this formed the bases for the discussion. The conditions of youth in South Africa are characterized by high levels of unemployment (62.6%), high HIV prevalence especially among young girls and cases of termination of pregnancy which increased from 70448 in 2010 to 89952 in 2013.

Teenage pregnancy remains a challenge as it is often constrained by social, cultural and religious factors. Adolescent and Youth friendly services are not always available throughout the country, and often the clinic environment is unwelcoming to pregnant teenagers who feel judged and often treated with disrespect. UNFPA is working towards the promotion of comprehensive sexuality education, building capacity for SRH service delivery including access to information and services, as well as promoting youth leadership and participation.

The critical issues and discussions at this forum need to be taken forward and addressed by and for young people. The 25 young leaders had the opportunity to develop a roadmap towards a post-2015 development framework that advances the SRHR and is HIV responsive to young people's needs.

The outcome of the Roadmap will be presented by UNFPA YAP member Levi Singh in New York during the UN General Assembly in September 2014.

Also in attendance was UNAIDS Country Coordinator ai, Dr Benjamin Alli and South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) CEO, Dr. Fareed Abdullah who praised the young people for their initiative and urged them to be positive and actively engaged going forward.

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