What you need to know:
- Defilement and rape survivors are limited to HIV rapid diagnostic tests and post-exposure prophylaxis medication to prevent HIV after a possible exposure.
- Many adolescent girls may have lost both parents and most could be out of school.
Formal and informal transactional sex is poorly understood as the most affected are poor women and girls, yet it fuels the HIV/Aids spread as many, mainly adolescents, are at risk of infection and unintended pregnancies.
Three-quarters of the pregnancies of the more than two-thirds of sexually active HIV-positive adolescent girls are unintended. Sexual violence is among the causes of HIV among pregnant teens. Many are forced into sex with men three times older in exchange for money to buy necessities, exposing them to vulnerability as they lack bargaining power to negotiate safe sex.
Young girls have suffered and witnessed various forms of violence, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, and many, especially in rural areas, lack support or are unaware of it. Stigma and discrimination, including judgmental attitudes of service providers, make pregnant teens to shun antenatal services. Defilement and rape survivors are limited to HIV rapid diagnostic tests and post-exposure prophylaxis medication to prevent HIV after a possible exposure.
Many adolescent girls may have lost both parents and most could be out of school. The information gap widens as they are limited to sexual and reproductive health discussions, especially on contraceptive and condom use to prevent unwanted pregnancy and contracting HIV.
HIV-positive young mothers should be part of the antenatal care as there still are gaps in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services. The government should provide family planning services and supplies that are free and accessible in all private spaces, including rural areas; offer counselling and peer support for HIV-positive adolescent mothers from vulnerable groups; and ensure the programmes include boys and girls for greater awareness and to tackle negative gender norms.
email@example.com @Kajuju_nthiana, firstname.lastname@example.org @Eve_odhis