Experiences along the HIV care continuum: perspectives of Kenyan adolescents and caregivers

Published in: African Journal of AIDS Research
Volume 16, issue 3, 2017 , pages: 241–250
DOI: 10.2989/16085906.2017.1365089
Author(s): Winnie K LusenoPacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), USA, Bonita IritaniPacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), USA, Susannah ZietzPacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), USA, Suzanne MamanDepartment of Health Behavior and Health Education, USA, Isabella I MbaiSchool of Nursing, Kenya, Florence OtienoKenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Kenya, Barrack OngiliKenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Kenya, Denise Dion HallforsPacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), USA


To be effective, HIV programmes should be responsive to the unique needs of diverse groups of infected adolescents. We highlight a range of adolescent perspectives on HIV services, including those who acquired HIV perinatally or sexually and those who were either in care, had dropped out of care, or had never enrolled in care. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 29 adolescents (aged 15–19) and 14 caregivers in western Kenya. Data were analysed using a descriptive analytical approach. Adolescents who were successfully linked had a supportive adult present during diagnosis; tested during hospitalisation or treatment for a recurrent or severe illness; and initiated treatment soon after diagnosis. Barriers to retention included side effects from HIV drugs, pill burden, and limited access to clean water and nutritious food. Support in family, school, and health facility environments was key for diagnosis, linkage, and retention. We make recommendations that may improve adolescent engagement in HIV services.

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