HIV Prevention in Adolescents and Young People in the Eastern and Southern African Region: A Review of Key Challenges Impeding Actions for an Effective Response

Kaymarlin Govender1, *, Wilfred G.B. Masebo1, Patrick Nyamaruze2, Richard G. Cowden3, Bettina T. Schunter4, Anurita Bains4
1 Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
2 School of Applied Human Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
3 Department of Psychology, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, United States of America
4 UNICEF, Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, Nairobi, Kenya

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Creative Commons License
© 2018 Govender et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division, University of KwaZulu, Natal, Durban, South Africa; Tel: 031-2602468; E-mail:


The global commitment to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 places HIV prevention at the centre of the response. With the disease continuing to disproportionately affect young populations in the Eastern and Southern African Region (ESAR), particularly adolescent girls and young women, reducing HIV infections in this group is integral to achieving this ambitious target. This paper examines epidemiological patterns of the HIV epidemic among adolescents and young people, indicating where HIV prevention efforts need to be focused (i.e., adolescent girls and young women, adolescent boys and young men and young key populations).

Key innovations in the science of HIV prevention and strategies for dealing with programme implementation are reviewed. The paper also discusses the value of processes to mitigate HIV vulnerability and recommends actions needed to sustain the HIV prevention response. Stemming the tide of new HIV infections among young people in the ESAR requires an amplification of efforts across all sectors, which will safeguard past achievements and advance actions towards eliminating AIDS as a public health threat.

Keywords: HIV, Prevention, Adolescents, Young people, Africa, SRH services.