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

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid