approach to HIV prevention and treatment An age-appropriate response to the specific challenges children, adolescents and young people face while growing up

0-2 years

I risk getting HIV while my mum is pregnant from me, giving birth and when she breast feeds me. If I don’t start treatment and my HIV status is unknown, I run a 50% risk to die before my 2nd birthday.

We strengthen:

  • Access to prevention services, including:
    • HIV testing and early infant diagnosis
    • HIV retesting for both mother and child
    • HIV treatment for pregnant and lactating mothers living with HIV
  • Early treatment and adherence support for children living with HIV
  • Adherence to treatment and breastfeeding support for mothers living with HIV
  • Caregiver livelihood assets, including healthy nutrition
  • Psychosocial support for mothers living with HIV
  • Referrals to other child health services

3-5 years

It’s important to know my HIV status so I can be linked to treatment if needed. Otherwise, I run an 80% risk to die before I turn 5.

We strengthen:

  • HIV testing for children with unknown status
  • Treatment adherence and retention in HIV care
  • Caregiver livelihood assets, including healthy nutrition
  • Early childhood development education

6-9 years

I am taking medication. I want my caregivers and clinic to start telling me why and in such a way that I understand. I need support from them and my community in this partial disclosure process.

We strengthen:

  • HIV testing for children with unknown status
  • Treatment initiation, adherence and retention in HIV care
  • Support in child friendly disclosure to children living with HIV
  • Age appropriate and child friendly comprehensive sexuality education Caregiver livelihood assets, including healthy nutrition Community awareness and support for children living with HIV 6-9 years

10-14 years

As a young adolescent, it’s often this period during which I discover to be living with HIV. My sexuality education at school is mostly limited to biology, so I don’t have comprehensive knowledge on HIV and sexual health. This may lead to stopping my HIV treatment or having sex for the first time already.

We strengthen:

  • Age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education
  • Access to and improved youth-friendly services
  • Treatment initiation, adherence and retention in HIV care
  • Support in full disclosure to children living with HIV
  • Mental health and psychosocial support
  • Caregiver livelihood assets, including healthy nutrition
  • Community awareness and support for children living with HIV

15-17 years

It’s difficult to get sexual and reproductive health information and products. Services are not youth-friendly or I depend on my caregivers because of age of consent for services. As a girl in particular I may engage in unequal relationships and early marriage, risking to become pregnant, to get HIV or drop out of school.

We strengthen:

  • Age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education
  • Access to and improved youth-friendly services
  • Treatment initiation, adherence and retention in HIV care
  • Mental health and psychosocial support
  • General schooling and education opportunities
  • Sexual and reproductive rights literacy and demand creation
  • Safe disclosure and support to reduce internal stigma
  • Community awareness and support for young people living with HIV

18-24 years

As a young woman I am likely to discover my HIV status during antenatal care. I’m twice as likely to be living with HIV than men my age. Gender specific roles restrict me in my opportunities, sexuality, autonomy and in claiming my sexual and reproductive health and rights.

We strengthen:

  • Age appropriate comprehensive sexuality education
  • Access to youth friendly sexual and reproductive health services
  • Treatment initiation, adherence and retention in HIV care
  • Mental health and psychosocial support
  • Preparation to couples disclosure
  • Healthy nutrition support

Maternal Care

As a young woman I have a higher risk of an unplanned pregnancy and a lower uptake of antenatal and postnatal care than older women. This may cause poorer health for both me and my baby. As a young mother living with HIV I risk poorer treatment adherence and viral load suppression.

We strengthen:

  • Access to antenatal care and HIV services, including
    • HIV testing and re-testing during pregnancy
    • HIV treatment support and viral load monitoring
    • Psychosocial support from counsellors and peer mothers
    • PreP and other HIV prevention services
    • Safe delivery in health facilities
  • Access to postnatal care, including
    • Treatment adherence and breastfeeding education and support
    • Access to family planning services
  • Caregiver livelihood assets, including healthy nutrition
  • Community awareness and support for maternal health
  • Parenting skills

Click the red dots to access the corresponding age groups

HIV programming according to different stages in life

Research has shown that the risks of HIV infection, the challenges of accessing services and the solutions to these challenges, change at different stages of life. To better understand the complex dynamics of the HIV epidemic and to provide tailor made solutions, Aidsfonds uses a ‘life-cycle approach’ for programming.

The life-cycle approach reflects the phases in the lives of children, adolescents and young people in the age of 0 to 24 years. Maternal health is an integral part of the approach during the prenatal, neonatal and infancy stages and when adolescent girls become pregnant. Through evidence-based mapping of the individual challenges per phase, we assess the needs in HIV prevention, treatment and care for that group. Subsequently we define the conditions of interventions at individual, community, health system and national level, and address structural barriers such as gender inequality, poverty and cultural practices.

Together with local partners we develop interventions which aim to empower children, adolescents and young people to prevent themselves from getting HIV or to adhere to treatment at every stage of their upbringing. So they can live confident and healthy lives.

Interested to know more?

Take a look at our projects on children and young people or subscribe to our bi-annual e-newsletters. Feel free to contact us if you want to know more about the life-cycle approach, or to share your thoughts, experiences and ideas.

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