Increasing Uptake of HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infection, and Family Planning Services, and Reducing HIV-Related Risk Behaviors among Youth Living with HIV in Uganda

March 2017 - Combination Prevention

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Vu, L., Burnett-Zieman, B., Banura, C., et al. Journal of Adolescent Health (February 2017), 60(2S2):S22-S28, doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.09.007.

This study reviewed the effectiveness of Link Up, a peer-led intervention model to address barriers to care for youth living with HIV (YLHIV) in Uganda. The model provided a comprehensive package of HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services through community-based peer support groups for YLHIV. Peer educators delivered targeted counseling and health education, and referred or linked YLHIV to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and reproductive health services at youth-oriented SRHR facilities staffed with trained providers. The study used a pre-post cohort design, following individuals over a nine-month intervention period (January–September 2015). Eligible participants were male and female Link Up peer support group members aged 15–24 years in rural Luweero and Nakasongola districts. A cohort of 473 youth was recruited, and an endline survey captured 350 members of the original cohort. The results showed significant increases in self-efficacy, comprehensive HIV knowledge, HIV disclosure, condom use at last sex, uptake of services for sexually transmitted infection and ART, ART adherence, CD4 testing, and current use of a modern contraceptive method. The authors concluded that this SRHR and HIV intervention strategy shows promise, and should be further evaluated and adapted for use among YLHIV in similar settings.

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