Despite progress made in the AIDS response, evidence suggests that adolescents living with HIV are falling behind because they don't receive the attention and services they require. According to UNAIDS, AIDS-related mortality among adolescents has increased by 50% globally in the past seven years, even while it fell in all other age groups. Our project will reach HIV+ adolescents in India with support services, education, and care they need to manage HIV and lead healthy and stigma-free lives.
India has one of the largest populations of adolescents living with HIV. Every year, 50,000 new infections are reported among children below 15. There is an urgent need to ensure that infected adolescents become aware of their status and have access to effective HIV treatment and quality care programming. Many of them are unaware of how to manage their sexual and reproductive health and are often denied access to education and employment because of their HIV status.
The project will reach 100 adolescents in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra with quality care and support services. These two states have the highest burden of adolescents living with HIV in India. The project will support these adolescents living with HIV giving them access to testing and treatment, comprehensive youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services, improved linkages to other health services, and support for skill-building and income-generation activities.
Effective treatment, care and support for people living with HIV (including adolescents) not only saves their lives but also protects others by reducing the risk of new infections. The project will encourage health-seeking behavior among HIV+ adolescents and increase their social wellbeing by providing them livelihood opportunities. In the long run, this project will help reduce AIDS-related mortality among adolescents and develop new program models to reach this vulnerable population.