Facts you need to know on World Sexual Health Day

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Across the globe, sex and sexual education can be considered a taboo, even contentious topic to discuss. On World Sexual Health day, we’d like to encourage people to get the facts and have open conversations about their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

We’ve compiled some key global facts that can help get the conversation started. These numbers may surprise you but it’s important to keep in mind that millions of youth and adults do not have access to the appropriate education and services they need to be healthy.

Of course, no conversation about sexual health is complete without a discussion of gender-based violence and how the power dynamics between men and women impact the health and lives of women and girls. 1 in 3 women throughout the world will experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.

The right to health and autonomy over their body is denied to millions of women and girls around the world and the impact is represented in some of the statistics below.


  • 214 million women of reproductive age in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy are not using a modern contraceptive method.
  • Emergency contraception (EC) can prevent up to over 95% of pregnancies when taken within 5 days after intercourse.


  • Every day, approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Around 7 million women are admitted to hospitals every year in developing countries, as a result of unsafe abortion.
  • Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for 15 to 19 year-old girls globally.
  • Approximately 16 million girls aged 15 to 19 years give birth each year in developing nations.
  • Every year, approximately 3.9 million girls aged 15 to 19 years undergo unsafe abortions.


  • More than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide.
  • Each year, there are an estimated 357 million new infections with 1 of 4 STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and trichomoniasis.


  • HIV has claimed more than 35 million lives so far. In 2017, 940 000 people died from HIV-related causes globally.
  • There were approximately 36.9 million people living with HIV at the end of 2017 with 1.8 million people becoming newly infected in 2017 globally.

Changing the stats by advancing gender equality

Plan International Canada is committed to improving access to sexual and reproductive health education and services. Our #ChangetheBirthStory campaign represents one of our projects currently active in Ghana, Bangladesh, Haiti, Nigeria and Senegal where we are working to empower women and girls, engage men and boys and train health workers for better health outcomes.

We tackle the root cause of sexual health statistics and work to improve the health of women and girls by advancing gender equality in their communities.

If you believe in the statement below and want to support our work to improve access to life-saving and quality sexual and reproductive health education and services, add your name today!

I stand with Canada to change the birth story because I believe that every adolescent girl, woman and child has the right to be healthy and to live a life free of discrimination.

Kavita Dogra | 4 years ago | « back