In Kenya, emotional violence, mental health found as key obstacles to lifesaving HIV treatments for teenage girls and young women
In Sub-Saharan Africa, where HIV/AIDS is a leading cause of death for adolescent girls and young women, antiretroviral therapy (ART) treatments are critical to saving lives and preventing the disease from spreading. Yet many HIV-positive teenage girls and young women don’t stick with these life-saving treatments.
Now, a new publication by Stanford and Kenyan researchers finds that depression and emotional violence by an intimate partner are strongly associated with this poor adherence to treatments. The study is one of the first to illuminate the connection between domestic violence, mental health, and ART adherence in teenagers and young women. Based on these findings, the researchers are exploring a community-based solution to support mental wellness. By doing so, they hope to both address mental health challenges and increase the uptake of HIV treatments, saving lives and bolstering the fight against HIV.
In their recent publication in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, researchers found that the odds of teenage girls and young women missing their treatments more than doubled for those who reported suffering emotional violence, compared with those who did not. The odds were even higher for women with moderate or severe depression versus those with no depression or minimal depression. Young women were more likely to be depressed if they reported having experienced any intimate partner violence.
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Source :Stanford University