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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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 Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid