A clinical trial based in Kisumu Kenya is on the good path to managing adolescent HIV/AIDS after it achieved significant viral suppression among the youths comprising of adolescents and teenagers.
An organization called Family AIDS Care and Services (FACES) sought to evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation of the adolescent package of care (APOC) on adolescent viral suppression.
The study arrived at the conclusion that setting aside days for adolescent clinics made it easy to achieve viral suppression compared to those who visit regular clinics and recommended the replication of the model for practitioners managing adolescent HIV.
“This study suggests that adolescent clinic days greatly improve adolescent viral load suppression and should be considered for implementation across HIV programs. At clinics offering adolescent-friendly clinic days, adolescents were nearly 2 times more likely to be virally suppressed than at facilities not offering these specialized clinic days,” stated Science Direct.
The APOC recruited 10-19 year-olds and evaluated their viral load in 13 FACES test cites and for a period of 11 months divided into 6 months before January 2015- August 2016 and after November 2015 – March 2017.
After obtaining the patient’s information form the openMRS, adolescent clinic days used their adolescent package of care (APOC) checklist to asses factors associated with viral suppression.
This is a big achievement for Kenya since the HIV progress report of 2016 indicated that youths aged 15-24 accounted for half of the new HIV infections in Kenya. The people between 15- 24 years accounted for 51% of the new infections documented, especially girls.
The statistics revealed that 5000 youths in Kisumu County contracted HIV/AIDS yearly by conclusion in 2016 despite the interventions which were existing. This trend is attributed to stigma in disclosure of one’s status and myths around sex such as one contact is not sufficient to spread the virus.
The HIV prevalence rate in Kisumu County, in general, was at 19% in 2016. New infections reported in 2015 alone were 10,682. Aids deaths in adults 3,406.Children living with HIV 16,859.New infections in children 2,209.Aids deaths in children 1,040.
The initiation age for sex was between 16-17 and most didn’t know of the basic sex safety measures, the ABC. KEMRI/CDC in Kisumu stated most were sexually active and didn’t use condoms, and were not aware of the PrEP therapy.
The HIV progress report of Kenya identified that the youths aged between 15-24 contributed to many new HIV cases in Kenya because most of them were ignorant of safe sex practices.
The youths were advised to practice the ABC model of HIV prevention which is Abstinence, Being faithful and use of condoms.
In alignment with the World Aids Day theme of 2016, Ending AIDS and Stigma among Adolescents and Young People, the stakeholders involved in HIV intervention were requested to meaningfully get involved in managing HIV to realize SDGs of 2030.
The intervening stakeholders were requested to address the root causes of the increased youth and adolescent HIV considering that the age group 15-24 is highly sensitive and easily succumb to stigma.
It was requested that youth-friendly clinics be set up to help in managing adolescent and youth HIV and the success of viral suppression achieved by the FACES APOC study is a fulfillment of what was requested of them in 2016.
Contact: Everlyne Otieno