AIDS is now the leading cause of death among adolescents (aged 10–19) in Africa and the second most common cause of death among adolescents globally. There were 250,000 new HIV infections among adolescents in 2013, two thirds of which were among adolescent girls.
Current available data reveal that the scale-up of testing and treatment for children and adolescents living with HIV remains unacceptably slow. Children and adolescents under 15 years of age who are living with HIV are considerably less likely to receive treatment than adults, with less than one in four children between the ages of 0 and 14 (24% [22–26%]) accessing antiretroviral therapy in 2013. For adolescents who know their status and who are able to access treatment, many challenges remain. These include disclosure, stigma and discrimination, as well as a lack of support for helping them remain on treatment. Finding optimal antiretroviral regimens and supporting improved clinical and social support and care will be critical to reducing AIDS-related deaths in adolescents, and will require a holistic, life-cycle approach.
UNAIDS’ strategic plan for reduction of HIV among youth includes the following elements:
- Adolescent leadership, mobilization and engagement
- Human rights and equity
- Sexual and reproductive health and education
- Improved data to drive planning and results*
In this Trending Topic, the Health COMpass provides a selection of tools and examples from project work aimed at responding to the challenges of youth living with HIV. We invite you to submit your own materials to the Health COMpass to enhance our collection. Simply register and then click on “Add Your Resources” on the home page to contribute.
*Retrieved from All In website – http://allintoendadolescentaids.org//nas/content/live/globalcompass/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/ALL-IN-La…, 1/18/16.
Anna, a young HIV positive Rwandan teenager, is an orphan who lost her father in the genocide and her mother to AIDS. Her mother was raped during the genocide and contracted HIV which transitioned to AIDS. Anna lives with her seven siblings, all of whom are HIV positive. She and most of her siblings have access to ARVs because of donors, including World Vision. However, three of her siblings were beginning to show signs of AIDS. © 2004 Eileen Dietrich, Courtesy of Photoshare