The Thandizo tool is an online application for Community Health Care Workers to support young people living with HIV to adhere to treatment. The app identifies risks for non-adherence, provides referrals, tips and advice based on individual needs. At the same time, through the app, data is gathered and provides information about the needed interventions in the areas.
With this pilot project, we want to show how a risk assessment tool can contribute to helping young people living with HIV adhere to treatment. The Thandizo tool covers five key areas that influence behavior in relation to adherence: stigma and discrimination, mental health, support of family or friends, healthy living (including nutrition, harmful use of alcohol and other and drugs), treatment knowledge and skills.
Coalition of Women Living with HIV and AIDS (COWHLA) in Malawi offers support groups for people living with HIV and often work with young people. COWHLA identified a need to support young people with their adherence and recognised their individual needs. Together with Aidsfonds and with intensive consultation of stakeholders COWLHA developed the Thandizo tool to support young people living with HIV with adherence to treatment.
The Thandizo risk assessment tool for young people living with HIV is developed and tested with implementers and young people themselves. Overall aim of the pilot project is to have a reduced non-adherence to ART for young people living with HIV in Chikwawa and Mangochi districts in Malawi. Young people living with HIV receive information regarding treatment, adherence, healthy living, dealing with stigma, need for support, mental health support with the aim to adhere to their treatment, accept their HIV status, live healthy and feel more supported by people in their family and community.
Young people living with HIV in Malawi
Survival chances of people living with HIV have significantly improved worldwide and in Malawi, largely due to wide coverage of anti-retroviral therapy. Nonetheless, evidence shows that young people living with HIV are worse off with regard to treatment coverage and outcomes. Young people have individual needs and have different reasons for their non-adherence. Adolescent-specific services can help to keep them into care. Unfortunately such services are rarely available and often healthcare providers have little experience in providing services for young people.