July 10, 2023
The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) encourages concrete steps to improve outcomes for adolescents and young adults living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). In a position paper, published on July 7, 2023, in the Journal of Adolescent Health, SAHM emphasizes that, to understand the disparities that adolescents and young adults living with HIV face, it is important to focus on the multiple steps along the HIV continuum of care.
Adolescents and young adults living with HIV face significant barriers to accessing quality health services worldwide. As stated in the paper, barriers include inadequate access to health care teams trained in adolescent and young adult friendly services, health information inadequately tailored to adolescents and young adults, difficulty navigating adult-oriented health systems, lack of confidential healthcare, legal requirements for parental or caregiver consent, and challenges with direct and associated service costs.
Adolescents and young adults have consistently worse outcomes in care and mortality compared to other age groups. SAHM maintains that care of adolescents and young adults living with HIV must address the unique developmental, social, and legal characteristics of young people.
SAHM’s positions as stated in published paper are as follows:
- Adolescents and young adults living with HIV should be provided differentiated and integrated HIV services to ensure improved outcomes across the continuum of care.
- Structural changes that can improve outcomes for adolescents and young adults living with HIV should be actively pursued.
- Adolescents and young adults living with HIV should be included in the conceptualization, design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of HIV services designed for them.
The goals of these recommendations are to achieve the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS 95/95/95 targets for 2030. The intent is to diagnose 95% of all people living with HIV, provide antiretroviral therapy for 95% of those diagnosed, and achieve viral suppression for 95% of those treated by 2030. Adolescents and young adults living with HIV fall short of these targets and must be prioritized in local and global HIV response efforts.
Access SAHM’s full position paper here.
Contact: Philip Waitzman
The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM), founded in 1968, is a nonprofit multidisciplinary professional society committed to the promotion of health, well-being and equity for all adolescents and young adults by supporting adolescent health and medicine professionals through the advancement of clinical practice, care delivery, research, advocacy, and professional development. Through education, research, clinical services, and advocacy activities, SAHM enhances public and professional awareness of adolescent health issues among families, educators, policy makers, youth-serving organizations, students in the field as well as other health professionals around the world.