*indicates student or postdoctoral fellow
01 April 2018 – 31 March 2022
With respect to adherence and retention in care, adolescents (10-19 years) on antiretroviral therapy (ART) are doing comparably worse than adults and children. Within this study, it is hypothesised that, in addition to the well-known challenges with long-term adherence related to chronic conditions, the particular reasons for poor treatment outcomes for adolescents may be related to a lack of psycho-social support and transition guidance from paediatric to adult HIV programmes.
The primary aim of the study is to develop guidelines to support adolescents living with HIV (ALHIV) to achieve and sustain improved treatment outcomes (viral load suppression). Begun in 2018, this three-year project is undertaken in partnership with the Western Cape Provincial Government Department of Health and the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Our quantitative analysis found low rates of viral load suppression and diminishing retention in care during the first two years after being initiated on ART (full papers here: https://doi.org/10.7196/SAMJ.2020.V110I12.14509 and https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhivmed.v21i1.1077).
Qualitative findings from three research sites indicate that adherence and retention in care remain challenges for ALHIV as well as health care providers. Current interventions to promote adherence – youth clubs and family clinic – hold promise, but at present fall short of meeting the psycho-social needs of ALHIV (full papers here: doi.org/10.1177/1609406920958981 and doi.org/10.29392/001c.12588).