Adolescents and young people between 10 and 24 years of age represent almost a quarter of the total population of Moldova. Today, they are exposed to a variety of risk factors that negatively impact their health. Lack of education programmes on life skills, lack of parental supervision, migrant parents, and limited opportunities for education and employment, combined with easy access to alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs, pose many challenges for adolescents. These include sexually-transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies, substance use, mental health issues, and suicide.
Recent data show that 45 per cent of adolescent boys and 22 per cent of adolescent girls start drinking alcohol before the age of 15. Only 36 per cent of girls and 28 per cent of boys aged 15–24 know how HIV is transmitted and how to protect themselves from getting infected. This puts teenagers and young people at high risk of injuries, addiction, unwanted pregnancies, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
Young people are the least likely to have access to the services they need and often underestimate the risks or know how to avoid them. More than 35 thousand Moldovan children and adolescents are having both parents living abroad, due to emigration. Children left behind are usually cared by their grandparents, or, in some cases, by themselves.
Lack of parental supervision due to labour migration, as well as limited job opportunities, widespread poverty; easy access to tobacco, alcohol, and drugs;often result in unhealthy choices and decisions.