Addressing the Socio-Development Needs of Adolescents Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria: A Call for Action

Abstract The widespread use of antiretroviral therapy and remarkable success in the treatment of paediatric HIV infection has changed the face of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) epidemic in children from a fatal disease to that of a chronic illness. Many children living with HIV are surviving into adolescence. This sub-population of people living with HIV is emerging as a public health challenge and burden in terms of healthcare management and service utilization than previously anticipated. This article provides an overview of the socio-developmental challenges facing adolescents living with HIV especially in a resource-limited setting like Nigeria. These include concerns about their healthy sexuality, safer sex and transition to adulthood, disclosure of their status and potential stigma, challenges faced with daily living, access and adherence to treatment, access to care and support, and clinic transition. Other issues include reality of death and implications for fertility intentions, mental health concerns and neurocognitive development. Coping strategies and needed support for adolescents living with HIV are also discussed, and the implications for policy formulation and programme design and implementation in Nigeria are highlighted.

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