Global WACh

October 11, 2019

Researchers share latest findings at the International Workshop on HIV & Adolescence in Nairobi, Kenya

Last week, Global WACh researchers attended the 3rd International Workshop on HIV & Adolescence from October 2-4 in Nairobi, Kenya.  This workshop is an inclusive summit for multidisciplinary experts working with adolescents affected by HIV to share experiences, knowledge, and best practices with the aim of defining a pathway forward for optimizing care.  Adolescents are developmentally at a difficult crossroad, which makes it challenging to attract and sustain adolescents’ focus on maintaining their health.  Global WACh is leading multiple projects that put adolescents at the center of strategies and interventions to improve adherence to treatment for long-term health benefits.
Dr. Cyrus Mugo (University of Nairobi Department of Paediatrics and Child Health) and Mary Marwa (Kenyatta National Hospital) were among 20 oral abstract presenters invited to share key messages from their research.

”Self-disclosure of HIV status by adolescents and young adults associated with higher levels of stigma and depression” Presented by Dr. Cyrus Mugo
This study, based on our Vijana-SMART study (PI: Keshet Ronen), highlighted the positive and negative aspects of HIV self-disclosure, a process of revealing personal information about oneself to others, among adolescents and young adults (AYA).  Study participants had varying disclosure status depending on age, with older AYA more likely to have self-disclose to family and friends than younger AYA.  Those who self-disclosed indicated more internalized stigma and depression symptoms.  Self-disclosure, while encouraged, should be carefully considered for individual AYA for its impact on their mental health. Future disclosure counselling should be accompanied by depression screening.

“Prevalence of mental health and social well-being issues among pregnant adolescent girls and young women in western Kenya” Presented by Mary Marwa
This research is part of our PrEP Implementation for Mothers in Antenatal Care (PrIMA) study (PI: Grace John-Stewart), which tests models for PrEP delivery in maternal health clinics.  The team evaluated pregnant adolescents and young girls in high HIV prevalent settings for depression symptoms, HIV risk perception, inter-partner violence, alcohol use, and social support.  Depression symptoms were common among this population and were associated with higher HIV risk perception and inter-partner violence, and lower availability of social support.  Integrating social and mental health care within existing health systems frequently used by AGYW will be key in addressing the burden of depression.

Six researchers affiliated with Global WACh and the Department of Global Health presented abstract posters in which they were lead authors.

“Using Electronic Medical Records for Research in Kenya: Lessons from a Clinical Trial Evaluating Adolescent HIV Care”
Onyango A, Mugo C, Wilson K, Inwani I, Bukusi D, Guthrie B, Richardson B, Nduati M, Moraa H, John-Stewart G.

“HIV and sexual reproductive health service provision among older and younger adolescents living with HIV in Kenya”
Neary J,
Beima-Sofie K, Mutisya I, Begnel E, Kinuthia J, Omboga E, Itindi J, Chen T, Singa B, McGrath C, John-Stewart G, Ngugi E, Katana A, N’gan’ga L, Kohler P.

“”They can stigmatized you” A qualitative assessment of the influence of school factors on engagement in care and medication adherence among adolescents living with HIV (ALHIV).”
Beima-Sofie K, Wilson K, Mutisya I, Lawrence S, Moraa H, Kinuthia J, Itindi J, Muhenje O, Chen T, Singa B, McGrath C, Ngugi E, Katana A, Ng’ang’a L, John-Stewart G, Kohler P.

“Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs and Service Provision Among Adolescents Living with HIV in Kenya”
Lawrence S, Moraa H, Wilson K, Mutisya I, Neary J, Kinuthia J, Itindi J, Muhenji O, Chen T, Singa B, McGrath C, Ngugi E, Kohler P, Katana A, Ng’ang’a L, John-Stewart G, Beima-Sofie K. 

“Poor retention in care among adolescent and young adult (AYA) and recently diagnosed women living with HIV in Kenya”
Jiang W, Osborn L, Perrier T, Matemo D, Drake A, Unger J, Kinuthia J, John-Stewart G, Ronen K.

Wenwen Jiang, UW Epidemiology PhD student, presented a comparison of on-time clinic attendance between AYA and older adult pregnant and postpartum women showed AYA were less likely to attend in part due to their recent diagnoses and non-adherence to regular treatment.


“Healthcare Workers experiences following participation in a standardized patient actor training in Adolescent and young adult HIV care in Kenya” Moraa H, Wilson K, Nduati M, Onyango A, Mugo C, Mburu C, Inwani I, Bukusi E, John-Stewart G, Wamalwa D, Kohler P.

Hellen Moraa (University of Nairobi Department of Paediatrics) presented a poster of healthcare workers experience participating in the SPEED study.  They reported the training is beneficial in improving interactions with adolescents living with HIV, and may provide sustained impact in providing care.