Rethinking how to prevent HIV in Young People: Evidence from two large randomised controlled trials in Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Mema kwa Vijana Policy Briefing Paper: No. 10.
This policy brief examines the policy implications of the results of two recently-completed, major trials of adolescent sexual and reproductive health interventions in sub-Saharan Africa; the MEMA kwa Vijana Trial in Mwanza, Tanzania, and the Regai Dzive Shiri Trial in Zimbabwe. The trials focused on developing skills and changing attitudes and self-efficacy to change behaviours. They used participatory, active learning methods, and included interventions in schools, health services and the broader community.
Both interventions increased young people's knowledge, which is important in its own right. However they did not reduce HIV or other sexually transmitted infections. There is a gap between knowledge of how to avoid HIV and other sexual risks among young people and actual behaviour change. It is likely that wider societal norms related to adolescent sexual risk behaviours will need to be changed to permit this to occur.
Other approaches need to be developed, implemented and evaluated to find effective ways of preventing HIV among young people in sub- Saharan Africa.