31 August 2023

Identifying Drivers and Mitigators of Adolescent HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health Risk

This synthesis report reflects a comprehensive review of the body of research undertaken through the Evidence-to-Action partnership. It identifies common themes and new insights to answer the following questions: What common factors were found to put adolescents, including adolescents living with HIV and young mothers, at risk of poor health and well-being outcomes? What interventions – alone and in combination – can be implemented at scale to mitigate risk and improve health and well-being outcomes? What are the cross-cutting implications for policy and practice?   The synthesis considered secondary data analysis from three longitudinal adolescent cohort studies in South Africa and four systematic reviews on adolescents’ adherence to treatment and retention in care, the effects of decentralizing antiretroviral therapy on health outcomes for adolescents, understanding adolescent mental health in the context of HIV and adolescent pregnancy, and the experiences of adolescent mothers and their children. The findings showed that specific risk factors and interventions – alone or in combination – affected multiple adolescent development outcomes. The recommendations make a strong case for consistently providing protective packages of multisector interventions that have a direct effect on improving outcomes for adolescents across mental and physical health, education and violence prevention. When delivered in the right combination, these accelerators can have a synergistic, value-added impact on adolescent well-being.