|Type||Journal Article - BMC Research Notes|
|Title||Knowledge and disclosure of HIV status among adolescents and young adults attending an adolescent HIV clinic in Accra, Ghana|
In Ghana it is estimated that 1.2% of HIV infections occur in young people aged 15-24 but the representation in our clinics is small. Adherence to treatment, appointment keeping and knowledge of HIV status remains a challenge. Disclosure has been shown to result in better adherence to therapy, good clinical outcomes, psychological adjustment and reduction in the risk of HIV transmission when the young person becomes sexually active. A baseline study was conducted to ascertain if adolescents and young adults knew their HIV status and their knowledge on HIV. Informed consent and assent were obtained from willing participants. Self-administered questionnaires on general knowledge of HIV, HIV treatment and disclosure were collected and analyzed.
Thirty-four young persons participated in the study. The mean age was 16.9 ± SD 2.5 and 62% (21/32) were female. All of them were still in school. Eighty-five percent were aware that young people their age could fall sick, 91% had heard of HIV, 70% knew someone with HIV and 45% thought that adolescents were not at risk of HIV. On modes of HIV transmission, 66.7% knew HIV was transmitted through sex and 63.6% knew about mother to child transmission. Fifty three percent (18/34) knew their HIV status, 50% (17/34) were on antiretroviral and 35% (6/17) of them admitted to missing ARV doses. One person who said he was HIV negative and another who did not know his status were both on ARVs.
Disclosure of HIV status to adolescents and young people is dependent on a complex mix of factors and most practitioners recommend an age and developmentally appropriate disclosure. Thus it is highly individualized. The knowledge and awareness of HIV was 91% compared to 97% of adults in the most recent Ghana Demographic and Health Survey however only about two thirds had acceptable in depth knowledge on HIV. Only half knew their HIV status which was not the best considering their ages. There is the need to strengthen education to young persons with HIV, support adhere to ARVs for better outcomes and assist care givers to disclose HIV status to them.
|»||Ghana - Demographic and Health Survey 2008|