Adolescence is a delicate phase vis-à-vis adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) by young HIV-positive patients, who often drop out of treatment due to personal reasons or the transfer of their therapy management from pediatric to adult services.
Mozambique has the eighth-highest HIV prevalence in the world, particularly among adolescents aged 15-19. To help protect youth from sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) and treat those who are affected by them, in 1999 Mozambique launched the “Geração Biz” program. Its centerpiece was the setting-up of clinics (SAAJs) that provide advice to young people aged 10-24 to help them learn more about HIV prevention.
Aided by volunteer health activists, Doctors with Africa CUAMM has worked in support of five of these clinics in Beira since 2004, helping to promote reproductive health and STD prevention education. ART is immediately initiated in patients who test positive for HIV.
The improved adherence to therapy now being seen among these young people underscores the importance of tailoring specific programs for this population segment aimed at lowering treatment dropout rates.