Adolescents with HIV struggle with drug regimens, stigma

Young people with HIV are facing unique challenges, according to a recent report from Doctors Without Borders Myanmar released ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1. Adolescents with HIV aged 10 to 19 are three times more likely to experience failure with first-line anti-retroviral treatment than their adult counterparts, MSF’s Yangon project spokesperson U Nyan Lynn Htun said. It is believed that this is because they are taking the medication only sporadically, he said. “Adolescents with HIV need financial and social support,” he said. “They are depending on their guardians, like parents or other family, to provide them with ART and other needs.” In early 2014, MSF stopped taking on new patients but the organisation will begin again this year, with a focus on adolescents with HIV, he said. Their needs were not adequately addressed in the past and this has led to the disproportionately high rates of drug failure, he said. “They have many difficulties with taking ART regularly and they do not want to take medicine that impacts their mental state,” U Nyan Lynn Htun said. “Some of our adolescent patients live with their grandparents or relatives because both parents died when they were young. Although they get free medical treatment and ART, they have a difficult time taking it.”

Keep reading