There is a high need to improve treatment outcomes and quality of life for adolescents and young people living with HIV. YouthWise aims to amplify the voices of young people living with HIV in Kenya and Malawi to enable them to practice self-care and fulfil their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) needs.
Adolescents and young people living with HIV aged 10-24, in all their diversity, are able to practice self-care and fulfil their SRHR and HIV needs, in a supportive and respectful environment, through:
- youth leadership and youth advocates claiming their rights
- reducing stigma and tackling gender inequality as a root cause of the HIV epidemic disproportionately affecting adolescent girls and young women
- improving quality of and access to self-care service delivery, including community-based services
- lobby and advocacy at community, district and national level.
- strengthening national young people living with HIV networks, e.g. core support and advocacy capacity strengthening
Adolescents and young people living with HIV aged 10-24 years, in Kenya and Malawi
AIDS is the leading cause of death among young people aged 10-24 in Africa. Declines in AIDS-related mortality have been much more modest among adolescents aged 10-19 years than in other age groups*. This is largely due to poor sexual health and rights of adolescents and young people living with HIV. Treatment adherence can be a big challenge for them at a time of physical, social and psychological change, and they need specific support. Covid-19 further poses, increasing mental health issues, complicating treatment adherence and influencing stocking of ARVs.
Self-care** is increasingly considered as an urgent approach to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) and has the potential to increase people’s autonomy, choice and power over their health. This is even more the case for adolescents and young people living with HIV, who often face challenges to access health services due to poverty, distance, lack of privacy and out of fear of stigma.
"I need to be in charge of my health because..."
"...it is my life, my body and I know how it operates," says Josphine of AYARHEP, one of the partners in YouthWise. In this energetic video together with Banda, Jerry, Jerop and Zipporah she illustrates the importance of youth leadership. Loud and clear. Watch the video!
Activities for 2022
In 2022, the programme will:
- train 290 adolescents and young people living with HIV as advocates and peers
- train 200 adolescents and young people living with HIV on treatment and health literacy
- support 8,900 adolescents and young people living with HIV through peers and (online) support groups
- work with 200 parents, community and religious leaders, journalists and other community duty bearers to change the discourse on HIV and support adolescents and young people living with HIV
- work with 85 (community) health service providers to make services more youth-friendly and accessible and to strengthen referral systems.
I owe it to myself that no one with HIV lives in fear because of HIV - 24-years-old Jerop Limo from Kenya dedicates her life to motivating her peers in living positively
Building on previous successes and lessons
YouthWise is a youth- and women-led project, implemented by Y+ Global, Y+ Kenya and Y+ Malawi which are networks of young people living with HIV, AYARHEP (Ambassador for Youth and Adolescent Reproductive Health Programmes) in Kenya and the Coalition of Women Living with HIV and AIDS (COWLHA) in Malawi. We are building on previous successes (e.g. from PITCH and Get Up Speak Out), current successful interventions such as One2One Stepped Care Model in Kenya, Thandizo in Malawi, Operation Triple Zero and new opportunities such as the increasing self-care movement.
Life-cycle approach for programming
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.
* 2021, Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free
** WHO defines self-care as ‘The ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.’