Effective approaches for programming to reduce adolescent vulnerability to HIV

S. N. Mavedzenge, Ellen Luecke, David Ross Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 2014; JAIDS, Vol. 66 pp154-169 Effective Approaches for Programming to Reduce Adolescent Vulnerability to HIV Infection, HIV Risk, and HIV-Related Morbidity an

A rigorous, systematic review identified eight interventions shown to be effective in overcoming the barriers that adolescents face in accessing HIV prevention, treatment and care. Some in-school interventions and others in geographically defined communities can positively impact important HIV-related outcomes, such as self-reported sexual risk behaviours.

Using a standard, transparent methodology, the study:

  • summarised the global data on effectiveness of twenty intervention types
  • evaluated the evidence of impact on the key outcomes: HIV risk, HIV transmission and HIV morbidity and mortality
  • identified the characteristics of effective interventions
  • explored evidence of how adolescents can access those interventions with proven effectiveness

In 2012, an estimated 2.1 million adolescents were living with HIV. Though there are effective interventions to prevent and treat HIV infection, adolescents face specific barriers in accessing them. As a result, new infections and poor outcomes among HIV-infected adolescents are common.

High-quality, consistent biological evidence confirms the efficacy of a range of interventions designed primarily for adults, including:

  • voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC)
  • antiretrovirals for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission
  • HIV testing and counselling
  • HIV treatment
  • condom use
  • provision of sterile injecting equipment to people who inject drugs

These priority interventions with proven effectiveness should be included in all HIV prevention programming for adolescents. There is a pressing need for more rigorous research on how best to enable adolescents to access these effective interventions."

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