News / Health

Adolescents Often Neglected in African HIV Programs

FILE - Youths attend a talk on sexual and domestic violence and HIV/AIDS prevention in Agoe-Nyive, a suburb of Lome.FILE - Youths attend a talk on sexual and domestic violence and HIV/AIDS prevention in Agoe-Nyive, a suburb of Lome.
x
FILE - Youths attend a talk on sexual and domestic violence and HIV/AIDS prevention in Agoe-Nyive, a suburb of Lome.
FILE - Youths attend a talk on sexual and domestic violence and HIV/AIDS prevention in Agoe-Nyive, a suburb of Lome.
Jennifer Lazuta
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that only 10 percent of young men and 15 percent of young women in sub-Saharan Africa know their HIV status.  The WHO say governments need to review their laws to make it easier for adolescents to get tested for HIV and to receive counseling and treatment. 

More than 2 million adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 are living with HIV worldwide.  Approximately 70 percent of these young people are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Aids-related deaths, 2005-2012Aids-related deaths, 2005-2012
x
Aids-related deaths, 2005-2012
Aids-related deaths, 2005-2012
The WHO says in a report being released Monday that despite a 30 percent drop in the global number of HIV-related deaths over the last decade, the number of HIV-related deaths in the adolescent age group went up by 50 percent during that same time.

Craig McClure, associate director and chief of the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) HIV/AIDS Division, said (over Skype) that more attention needs to be given to adolescents when it comes to HIV testing and care.

"A lot of the focus in recent years has been on scaling up HIV testing for pregnant women, providing them with treatment to protect their own health and prevent transmission to their babies," he said.  "We need to extend those efforts through to adolescents to make sure that children remain HIV-free from birth right through to adulthood and that those [adolescents] that are living with HIV have access to the treatment and care they deserve."

McClure says one of the first steps is making sure more young people know their status.

In many sub-Saharan African countries, the law prevents anyone under the age of 18 from getting tested for HIV without parental consent.

"We obviously would like adolescents, young people, to be able to discuss with their families their health needs, but we know that’s not always possible," he said. "So making it easier for adolescents to get HIV testing, either through the community or through health services, is a really important way of ensuring that they are linked to either care or to prevention services."

McClure says there is also a lack of youth-friendly HIV-testing and counseling services throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and not enough youth-led, government-funded programs to raise awareness among adolescents about the importance of HIV testing as a gateway to services.

He says keeping adolescents in HIV care as they navigate the transition from childhood to adulthood is particularly challenging.  They often need more support than adults to stick to their treatment plan and more help dealing with social pressures from peers.

To help adolescents who are either living with HIV or are at risk of infection get the care they need, the WHO worked with UNICEF and other partners to create guidelines for tailoring HIV testing and care services to adolescents.

The report calls on governments to pay more attention to adolescents within their HIV programs and to review their polices in relation to age of consent.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More