New policy guidelines for adolescents with HIV

Categories: Policy.

In 2012, an estimated 2.1 million adolescents were living with HIV. Between 2005 and 2012, HIV-related deaths among adolescents increased by 50%, while the global number of HIV-related deaths fell by 30%. This increase in adolescent HIV-related deaths is due primarily to poor  prioritization of adolescents in national HIV plans, inadequate provision of accessible and acceptable HIV testing and counselling and treatment services, and lack of support for adolescents to remain in care and adhere to antiretroviral therapy.

Over the next decade, infants and young children who are living with HIV will become adolescents. While some of them have been diagnosed and are currently on treatment, others have not been diagnosed and/or are not on treatment. All of them will face the physical, emotional and social tasks of adolescence, complicated by the challenges of living with a chronic infection and preventing transmission.

Adolescents enrolled in paediatric treatment and care programmes should begin to transition to services that are more appropriate for their age-related needs and circumstances, if available, with the aim of developing autonomy for their own health care. Undiagnosed adolescents need to be tested for HIV – if negative, linked to prevention services, and, if positive, enrolled and retained in treatment and care that is supportive and effective. Unfortunately in many countries, access to testing and treatment for this age group is complicated by legal barriers where a parent or caregiver’s consent is required, often discouraging adolescents from seeking the services they need. 

This new policy brief provides recommendations on HIV testing and counselling, ART service delivery, major operational and service delivery, and clinical recommendations for adolescents.

Download the Policy brief from:

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