Combining financial incentives and peer support to improve adolescent outcomes in HIV
Partner: University of Kigali | Location: Rwanda
HIV is evolving into an adolescent epidemic.
Globally, 2.1 million adolescents and 3.3 million children are living with HIV/AIDS. Between 2005 and 2012 the total number of HIV-related deaths fell by 30%. However, amongst adolescents HIV related deaths increased by 50%.
Poor adherence to anti-retroviral therapy is driving poor outcomes for adolescents.
The world health organization recently issued an urgent call for novel interventions to improve adherence amongst adolescents. In Rwanda, 29% of adolescents living with HIV have non-suppressed viral load because of poor treatment adherence.
To address this challenge we have been working with the University of Kigali to develop a program with three components to improve adherence and outcomes for these adolescents.
Incentives: Using the power of financial savings and inclusion to motivate healthy choices.
Peer Support: Teens helping teens through peer mentoring to stick to their medications and stay well.
Life-skills: Provide young people with the skills to invest their savings and plan their future livelihoods.
We found that this intervention was acceptable among youth and caregivers. Financial incentives, combined with a supportive environment and adequate skills-training, show promise in motivating health behavior change in adolescents living with HIV. This study indicated a need for mixed-methods in designing youth-targeted financial services and evaluating their efficacy over time using large multi-site RCTs.