Transitioning to a healthy adulthood

Publication Subtitle

Lessons learned from adolescent girls living with HIV in urban Zambia

Publication year


Publication Author

Anne Stangl, Virginia Bond, Constance Mackworth-Young, Kirsty Sievwright, Devaki Singh, Sue Clay, Chipo Chiiya, Mutale Chonta, Katongo Konayuma

Nearly six percent of Zambian girls aged 15-19 are living with HIV. Many were infected at birth when antiretroviral therapy (ART) was not widely available for pregnant women. Others have acquired HIV through sexual relationships or abuse. Adolescent girls continue to be at high risk for acquiring HIV due to social factors, like harmful gender norms, and structural factors, such as a lack of youth-friendly health services. Previous research in Zambia found that adolescents living with HIV of- ten had difficulty adhering to treatment, disclosing their HIV status to family and friends and coping with stigma. They also had limited access to information about sexual and reproductive health. Despite these challenges having been identified, very few community-based or clinic-based programs are de- signed to support healthy transitions to adulthood for adolescent girls living with HIV.

The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and Zambart conducted formative research between January and April 2015 to generate evidence-based ideas for services and programmatic interventions that support healthy transitions to adulthood among adolescent girls living with HIV in Zambia.