Interventions targeting sexual and reproductive health and rights outcomes of young people living with HIV: A comprehensive review of current interventions from sub-Saharan Africa


BACKGROUND: A growing number of young people (ages 10-24) are living with HIV (YPLWH) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). These YPLWH have particular needs and challenges related to their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Contextual factors including gender inequalities, violence, stigma, and discrimination and lack of tailored services undermine YPLWH’s SRHR. OBJECTIVE: Understand the scope and impact of interventions targeting YPLWH to improve SRH-related outcomes in SSA. DESIGN: We undertook a review to synthesise evaluated interventions (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods) aimed at improving the SRH outcomes of YPLWH in SSA with outcomes based on a World Health Organization framework of comprehensive SRHR approaches for women living with HIV. Using inclusion criteria, only six interventions were identified. RESULTS: Interventions sought to improve a range of direct and indirect SRH outcomes, including sexual behaviour, adherence, disclosure, and mental health. Four overarching issues emerged: 1) all interventions were structured according to cognitive behavioural therapy theories of behaviour change – while showing promise they do not tackle the wider gender, social, and economic contexts that shape YPLWH’s SRH; 2) ‘significant others’ were included in two of the interventions, but further work needs to consider how to leverage parental/guardian support appropriately; 3) interventions only accessed young people who were already linked to care, participants were likely to have better SRH outcomes than those potentially more vulnerable YPLWH; and 4) none of the interventions explored the sexuality of young people. CONCLUSIONS: There have been a limited number of evaluated interventions to strengthen SRH of YPLWH in SSA, and gaps exist in addressing the SRHR needs of YPLWH. Intervention approaches require greater scope and depth, including the need to address structural and contextual challenges.


Pretorius L, Gibbs A, Crankshaw T, Willan S.




  • Population(s)
    • Women
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment
  • Prevention
    • Sexual risk behaviour
  • Health Systems
    • Delivery arrangements


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