Turning the tide against AIDS will require more concentrated focus on adolescents and young people
Adolescents and young people represent a growing share of people living with HIV worldwide. In 2016 alone, 610,000 young people between the ages of 15 to 24 were newly infected with HIV, of whom 260,000 were adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19. To compound this, most recent data indicate that only 15 per cent of adolescent girls and 10 per cent of adolescent boys aged 15-19 in sub-Saharan Africa – the region most affected by HIV – have been tested for HIV in the past 12 months and received the result of the last test. If current trends continue, hundreds of thousands more will become HIV-positive in the coming years. Additionally, AIDS-related deaths among adolescents have increased over the past decade while decreasing among all other age groups, which can be largely attributed to a generation of children infected with HIV perinatally who are growing into adolescence.
In 2015, UNICEF and UNAIDS, in partnership with other international health and development partners, launched ALL IN! to End Adolescent AIDS. This global initiative established 2020 targets towards ending the AIDS epidemic among adolescents by 2030. To achieve this, it is critical to accelerate efforts to address the epidemic among adolescents.
This publication provides guidance to programme designers, implementers, policymakers and decision-makers on how to meaningfully engage adolescents in the AIDS response and in broader health programming. It also demonstrates why adolescents and youth are critical in efforts to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
The publication additionally highlights what steps should be taken to implement programmes and policies that improve adolescent health outcomes (including for HIV) at the national, regional and global levels.