Supporting adolescents living with HIV within boarding schools in Kenya

Judith Kose*, Cosima Lenz, Job Akuno, Fred Kiiru, Justine Jelagat Odionyi, Rose Otieno-Masaba, Elizabeth A. Okoth, Godfrey Woelk, Solomon Leselewa, Pieter Leendert Fraaij, Natella Rakhmanina

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

Adolescents and youth living with HIV (AYLHIV) are a uniquely vulnerable population facing challenges around adherence, disclosure of HIV status and stigma. Providing school-based support for AYLHIV offers an opportunity to optimize their health and wellbeing. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of school-based supportive interventions for AYLHIV in Kenya. From 2016–2019, with funding from ViiV Healthcare, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation implemented the innovative Red Carpet Program (RCP) for AYLHIV in participating public healthcare facilities and boarding schools in Homa Bay and Turkana Counties in Kenya. In this analysis, we report the implementation of the school-based interventions for AYLHIV in schools, which included: a) capacity building for overall in-school HIV, stigma and sexual and reproductive health education; b) HIV care and treatment support; c) bi-directional linkages with healthcare facilities; and d) psychosocial support (PSS). Overall, 561 school staff and 476 school adolescent health advocates received training to facilitate supportive environments for AYLHIV and school-wide education on HIV, stigma, and sexual and reproductive health. All 87 boarding schools inter-linked to 66 regional healthcare facilities to support care and treatment of AYLHIV. Across all RCP schools, 546 AYLHIV had their HIV status disclosed to school staff and received supportive care within schools, including treatment literacy and adherence counselling, confidential storage and access to HIV medications. School-based interventions to optimize care and treatment support for AYLHIV are feasible and contribute to advancing sexual and reproductive health within schools.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0260278
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume16
Issue number12 December
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright: © 2021 Kose et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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