The UN system defines young people as persons in the 10-24-year age group. This grouping includes both adolescents, ages 10-19, and youth, ages 15-24. Rather than adhere to a strict definition of the age range, youth-policy.com uses the terms young people, youth, and adolescents interchangeably to refer to the 10-24 age group. This broader use of the terms underscores the need for policies and programs to focus less on age and more on recognizing the specific developmental needs of people as they transition from childhood to adulthood. For more on the UN's definitions, see the website of the UN Youth Unit.
Our understanding of reproductive health emerges from international consensus documents such as the 1994 ICPD Program of Action. As defined by the ICPD, reproductive health refers to the health and well-being of women and men in terms of sexuality, pregnancy, and birth, as well as their related conditions, diseases, and illnesses. We define reproductive healthcare broadly to include sexual health; healthy, wanted pregnancy; prevention and management of HIV and other STIs; and other key actions [See the Key Elements of YRH Policy]. Because the vast majority of people with HIV are infected sexually or through the birth process, youth-policy.com considers HIV as primarily a sexual and reproductive health issue.
Policy is the end result of a process during which governments and other institutions first recognize that a particular need or problem exists and then state their intention to do something about it. These expressions of general concern and the guidelines for action that follow are the essence of policy. When these expressions or statements address the reproductive health needs or problems of young people, they are YRH policy. YRH policy can be a stand-alone statement or document, or incorporated within broader policies on youth or reproductive health. For more on defining YRH policy, click here.