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Youth, Wealth and HIV Prevention

Nyovani Janet Madise is a senior research scientist at the African Population & Health Research Center (a research partner of the Guttmacher Institute) in Nairobi, Kenya. She is in New York today to participate in a United Nations panel on youth as part of the 40th session of the Commission and Population and Development.

I just arrived in New York, among other reasons to participate in a panel discussion today titled "Preparing the Next Generation—Safeguarding Adolescents' Healthy Transition to Adulthood." The panel is a side event on the occasion of the meeting of the UN's Commission on Population and Development.

My recent work has focused on solving what at first glance may seem like a contradiction: The poorest adolescents in Africa engage in riskier sexual behavior, but, according to recent evidence, the wealthiest adolescents have the highest rates of HIV. I suspect that this may be because wealthier young people can afford to have sexual relationships with more partners, thus increasing their exposure to the virus.

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