Experts focus on innovative solutions to speed up progress against HIV among youth

The world has made great strides in reducing the impact of HIV, and AIDS-related deaths are on the decline in every age group – except among adolescents. New UNAIDS estimates show that young people continue to be at elevated risk for HIV globally.

Leaders dedicated to changing this reality participated in an official press briefing at the 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) today to share insights on novel approaches to reach the next generation with HIV prevention and treatment services.

“We must work with urgency to do a better job of reaching young people with the HIV services they need,” Linda-Gail Bekker, the President of the International AIDS Society (IAS) and International Scientific Chair of IAS 2017, said. “Only then will be able to change the course of the epidemic and truly end HIV.

Several IAS 2017 studies focus on improving HIV treatment and prevention approaches for young people, including:

  • A large study examining a successful community-based HIV counseling and testing program among adolescent girls and young women in South Africa and its potential implications for PrEP rollout (TUAC0201)
  • A study in six African countries examining the benefits of multi-month prescriptions of HIV treatment for adolescents with HIV (MOAD0105)
  • An analysis of adolescent treatment services in 23 sub-Saharan African countries, with implications for standards of care (MOPDD0101)
  • Evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of providing PrEP to young men versus young women in South Africa to inform the country’s PrEP implementation efforts (TUAC0202)

Leaders who spoke at the press briefing included: Shanine Musonga, an IAS 2017 Youth Ambassador from Zimbabwe, who highlighted the need for communities to support youth-led prevention and counselling initiatives; Yogan Pilloy of South Africa’s National Department of Health, who provided an overview of the important role that governments can play in meeting young people’s needs; Kate Thomson of the Global Fund, who underscored the importance of investing in young people; and Anna Grimsrud of the IAS, who shared insights from a special supplement of the Journal of the International AIDS Society (JIAS) focused on differentiated HIV care and a related new guidance framework, both launched at IAS 2017.

Tareq Salahuddin

Dr. Tareq Salahuddin is an award-winning journalist and a Special Correspondent of News Hour. He is a Public Health Professional working in the development sector. Dr. Tareq, a medical graduate, is a member of Public Health Association of Bangladesh and a former member of the Governing Council and Policy Committee of the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA), a J2J Fellow on HIV/AIDS and a member of the International AIDS Society. To know more about Dr. Tareq, please visit his personal website (www.tareqsalahuddin.net) or simply Google his name.
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