Addressing the HIV/AIDS Vulnerabilities and Stigma of Africa’s Youth
Council research will provide a comprehensive, evidence-based picture of the HIV-related issues facing young people in Africa and the prevailing legal, policy, and programmatic responses.
Africa's youth are disproportionately infected and affected by HIV. Nearly 10 million 15–24-year-olds currently live with the virus, and more than half of all new infections occur in this age group.
However, these figures conceal the significant diversity in HIV prevalence and its impact among different subgroups of young Africans, a highly heterogeneous population. Evidence-based efforts to ensure better targeting of interventions are needed to effectively address the HIV prevention and impact-mitigation needs (including stigma and discrimination) of all African youth. Such efforts, if successful, could positively affect the course of the epidemic in Africa, because trends in HIV prevalence among young people tend to significantly shape overall trends in new HIV infections. However, robust data are lacking on youth that are sufficiently disaggregated to adequately clarify the specific HIV-related vulnerabilities that young people encounter.
With support from the Ford Foundation, the Population Council is conducting a comparative analysis that will provide a comprehensive, evidence-based picture of the HIV-related issues facing young people in Africa and the prevailing legal, policy, and programmatic responses. Council researchers will focus on six countries: Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Uganda, which represent the varied HIV prevalence levels and trends as well as legal contexts across Africa.
The project will:
- Examine the extent to which national policies and program strategy documents and regional conventions, protocols, and policy initiatives are responsive to the vulnerabilities of young people to HIV infection and AIDS-related stigma and discrimination.
- Highlight the degree to which national HIV and sexual and reproductive health (SRH)-related laws discriminate against youth with relation to their ability to access sexual health information and services; HIV prevention, treatment, and care services; and legal protection when violations occur.
- Provide evidence on commonalities and contrasts within the vulnerabilities of youth to HIV and AIDS in the six countries.
- Document the extent to which the needs, concerns, and perspectives of youth are addressed in national programs for HIV prevention, treatment, stigma reduction, and impact mitigation, and whether youth are meaningfully engaged in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of HIV programs.
- Identify key institutional stakeholders at the regional, subregional, and national levels that are actively engaged in HIV/SRH-related policies and programs for young people.
Council researchers will use a multi-method research approach, including:
- A literature review of all major health and development databases and national laws, policies, and program strategy documents;
- Secondary analysis of HIV-related behavioral survey datasets including Demographic and Health Surveys; and
- Qualitative inquiries including focus group discussions, key informant interviews, and in-depth interviews to explore questions and issues brought to light by the quantitative analyses, literature review, and content analysis of relevant laws and policies.
Getting real with youth-friendly services in Africa: Report of a satellite session at the XIX International AIDS Conference (PDF)
Population Council Nigeria
Publication date: 2012
HIV and AIDS
Duration: 8/2011 - 5/2012
The Ford Foundation