Young people face particular vulnerabilities with respect to HIV, many not yet addressed in HIV responses. In this video interview for World AIDS Day 2012 at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, STRIVE Research Director Professor Charlotte Watts cites one example: the exchange of sex for material goods based not only on economic need but also on aspiration and ideas about social mobility.
One of the main challenges for women, she says, is that there is still no effective, female-controlled protection method to enable women to manage their own exposure to HIV risk. More broadly, Prof Watts stresses the importance of interventions that empower women and challenge some attitudes and stereotypes about gender.
Thinking beyond 2015, a more integrated approach to HIV programming is needed. Prof Watts stresses the benefits of involving communities most affected by HIV in designing appropriate and acceptable policies and practices.
In her own research, Prof Watts uses mathematical modelling to understand the HIV epidemic. She is also interested in the stories behind interventions that work in practice. The work that organisations undertake to tackle HIV on the ground remains one of her key inspirations.