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Behind the scenes at European Testing Week. Coming soon: HIV treatment is not a cure, but it is keeping millions of people well. Start learning about it in this section. In this section we have answered some of the questions you might have if you have just found out you have HIV. Antiretroviral drug chart A one-page reference guide to the anti-HIV drugs licensed for use in the European Union, with information on formulation, dosing, key side-effects and food restrictions. Our award-winning series of booklets, with each title providing a comprehensive overview of one aspect of living with HIV.

A range of interactive tools to support people living with HIV to get involved in decisions about their treatment and care. Short factsheets, providing a summary of key topics.

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Particularly useful when looking for information on a specific issue, rather than exploring a wider topic. Supporting sexual health and relationships for people with learning disabilities 18 December In relationships, sex and sexual health, people with disabilities often face The authors investigated whether use of pre-exposure prophylaxis PrEP influenced partner selection on an online dating application. PrEP status was not a significant factor for HIV-positive men when it came to selecting sexual partners. PrEP usage has had divisive effects, either being seen as a responsible preventative measure or an enabler of risky sexual behaviour amongst MSM.

The authors used vignettes in order to assess social attitudes of MSM on a popular geo-location sex app.

Participants were presented with stories depicting gay male characters as either sexually promiscuous or monogamous and either taking PrEP or not. None of the characters used condoms. Participants were asked whether they would be friends, date, or have sex with the characters.

A total of men from nine US cities completed the full survey years old, average age 37 in July Most of the men in the sample were white PrEP users also rejected promiscuous men for dating, and appeared to prefer to date men on PrEP, but this difference was once again not significant. They largely rejected promiscuous characters not taking PrEP. At the same time, young key populations are a heterogeneous group and the risk factors for HIV differ across young key populations and vary by age and setting.

PWID aged 18—29 are more likely to inject daily than other age groups [ 22 ], more likely to share syringes than other age groups [ 22 ], less likely to use harm reduction and treatment services, more likely to be reliant on older people for access to drugs and injecting equipment, more likely to obtain needles from unofficial sources, and less informed about risks and their rights [ 23 ].

Female PWIDs frequently experience violence from intimate partners, police and sex trade clients [ 24 ], as well as homelessness [ 25 ] and psychiatric co-morbidities [ 26 ], which may act synergistically, increasing their risk for HIV infection [ 23 ].

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HIV and adolescents: focus on young key populations

In addition, young female injectors have higher injecting risk behaviours compared to young male injectors, including multiple sex partners [ 29 ] and co-infection with HIV and HCV [ 30 ]. Young MSM experience multiple life stressors and high levels of victimization based on sexual identity that can lead to engagement in higher sexual and drug use activities, and also make practicing HIV prevention strategies challenging [ 40 — 42 ]. Compared to their heterosexual peers, YMSM have been found to have an increased risk of depressive symptoms, anxiety disorders, suicidal ideation and attempts, and PTSD [ 43 — 45 ].

Some YMSM may experience homelessness or unstable housing as a result of being driven out of their family homes. Further, YMSM face additional social challenges in developing a positive self-identity due to stigmatization, discrimination and homophobia. These challenges are magnified in areas where homosexuality is criminalized. Young transgender women are also at extremely high risk of HIV infection due to multiple concurrent risk factors, including substance use, sex work, depression, unstable housing, discrimination, violence and victimization [ 56 — 59 ].

Limited access to gender-sensitive health services can also interfere with HIV prevention efforts. Young people who sell sex also face challenges that put them at greater risk of HIV when compared to adult sex workers. These include a heightened risk of physical and sexual violence by clients and law enforcement agents [ 60 — 63 ]. As a result of exploitation by adults, young people who sell sex may lack control over the frequency and location of where they sell sex, and may be more likely to work on the streets than adults [ 64 — 67 ].

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Young people who have been orphaned or abandoned by their family face social and economic marginalization; consequently, in many parts of the world, children living on the street sell sex as a survival strategy [ 68 — 70 ]. In addition, young people who sell sex use condoms less consistently than adult sex workers due to lack of access to condoms, poor negotiating skills and limited knowledge of issues related to sexual and reproductive health.

Young people who sell sex also face stigma and discrimination, which not only affects their ability to access services but may also lead to low self-worth and self-stigmatization [ 71 ]. Young people who sell sex may also be more difficult to reach with services because initiation into sex work may be gradual and thus they may not recognize themselves to be at risk. Across all young key populations, parental permission laws in many settings poses an additional challenge for delivering effective prevention packages to this age group because they prevent minors from accessing prevention and care services without the involvement of a parent.

In addition, young people often do not seek health services due to stigma associated with youth attending HIV prevention services, and lack of youth friendliness and confidentiality in many health settings [ 73 ].

These structural barriers are even greater for young key populations because their behaviours are stigmatized and illegal in many settings, resulting in discrimination, marginalization, possible legal consequences such as imprisonment and fear of punishment [ 3 ]. In countries where homosexuality is illegal, YMSM who fear being outed by health workers may delay care.

Laws that classify sex work among people who are under 18 as sexual exploitation designed to protect minors involved in the sex industry , may have the unintended consequence of encouraging young women who sell sex to deny involvement or avoid health services because of fear of being sent to state institutions or suffering abuse and harassment by law enforcement [ 74 — 80 ]. Laws requiring parental permission for prevention services also fail to recognize that many adolescents engaged in injecting drug use or selling sex do not live with family or may be orphans.

Combination prevention packages that include effective, acceptable and scalable behavioural, structural and biologic interventions are needed for all key populations in order to have the greatest impact on preventing new infections. This is supported by mathematical modelling which has found that existing structural and behavioural prevention approaches for key populations could be further strengthened by combining them with newer biomedical prevention interventions, such as PrEP [ 9 — 15 ].

Combination prevention packages should aim to achieve high coverage of HIV testing and knowledge of HIV serostatus, parsimony in selecting evidence-based interventions, synergy such that the effect of a combination of interventions is at least the sum of the parts, if not greater, and intervention coverage, which is a function of access to, utilization of, and high retention see Table 1 [ 81 ]. Based on recent guidelines from the WHO for HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for key populations, combination prevention packages should also include the key health care sector interventions as summarized in Table 2 and strive to create an enabling environment.

Among key populations, interventions that meaningfully involve beneficiaries in the design and implementation of the intervention, and take into account the context in which the intervention is being delivered to thoughtfully address issues of stigma and discrimination are most likely to be most effective. For adolescent and young key populations, PrEP could offer a highly effective, time-limited primary prevention if they can access health services and are motivated to use PrEP while at risk of HIV exposure.

Although no PrEP efficacy trials completed to date exclusively recruited adolescents and young persons, all the trials included persons between ages 18 and 24 see Table 4 and Figure 1. Nonetheless, young key population face unique challenges that may influence their willingness to use and adhere to PrEP. Addressing these challenges will be key to the success of PrEP as an intervention strategy in this vulnerable population. Representation of key populations and young people included in completed PrEP studies.

Adherence to medications is known to be a significant challenge for young people, [ 88 — 91 ] and thus adherence to PrEP must be an important focus of any intervention providing PrEP to this population [ 92 ]. Across all the PrEP trials, there is robust evidence that PrEP has high effectiveness, but this effectiveness is highly dependent on adherence [ 11 , 93 ].

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Sub-analyses of existing trial data suggest that younger and unmarried participants as well as those with highest behavioural risk were the least likely to adhere to PrEP [ 17 , 20 , 94 ]. Concerns about adherence to PrEP and subsequent drug-resistance are particularly strong for PWID [ 97 ], whose barriers to antiretroviral therapy ART adherence include interruptions in care due to low social support, incarceration, and compulsory detoxification and detention [ 98 ]. At the same time, a recent meta-analysis revealed that PWID had comparable rates of ART adherence to non-drug using populations [ 98 ] suggesting that these concerns may be unfounded.

There are limited data on adherence to ART among persons who sell sex [ 99 , ]. Some reports suggest that persons who sell sex may be poorly adherent due to their social instability, increased mobility and police harassment, but there are also data suggesting that persons who sell sex can adhere if properly supported. There is a critical need to understand the reasons for poor PrEP adherence among young women, including sex workers [ ].

Several upcoming studies and demonstration projects are examining the impact of different adherence counselling programs and delivery mechanisms to improve PrEP adherence among participants see Table 5, Supplementary files. The differential uptake and sustained use among populations enrolled in placebo-controlled PrEP efficacy trials in part reflects population differences in terms of levels of uncertainty and ambivalence about using antiretrovirals for prevention, risk perception, concerns about side effects, stigma, reactions of others, partner support, participation in a placebo-controlled trial to obtain access to health care and other services, and concerns about randomization to placebo or a product of uncertain efficacy [ — ].

Uptake and adherence among participants in clinical trials who are randomized to placebo or active product and counselled about unknown efficacy may not predict uptake and adherence among at risk participants who are offered open-label product and counselled about known efficacy and the importance of adherence. Encouragingly, two studies of daily and intermittent oral PrEP among MSM were recently stopped early due to high effectiveness: The high effectiveness demonstrated early in these studies indicate that adherence to oral PrEP among MSM is high in the context of known efficacy even when delivered with less intensive adherence counselling.

Long acting injectable and slow release delivery mechanisms for example, using a vaginal ring are currently being evaluated for efficacy and may be available for more real world evaluation within the next 1—3 years. Antiretrovirals including dapivirine and tenofovir are being formulated in sustained release vaginal rings combined with levonorgestrol for contraception multi-purpose technologies , which may further enhance uptake and adherence for young women [ , ].

PrEP has great promise if integrated into a combination prevention package that provides support for the structural and behavioural barriers to this innovative biomedical prevention strategy, including accessing health care, assessing one's risk and motivation for prevention, and developing adherence habits.

Below we will highlight what an ideal combination package for young key populations might look like and the potential role of PrEP within such a package. An ideal combination prevention package for YMSM and young transgendered persons would include effective interventions to address behavioural risk factors, PrEP uptake and adherence support as well as addressing structural barriers to prevention including criminalization, stigma, discrimination and homophobia.

High rates of mobile phone ownership and technology use among youth provide a unique platform to deliver tailored, engaging HIV health promotion interventions to YMSM and young transgendered persons [ — ]. For example, a combination prevention app could include features to 1 increase HIV testing e. However, to date behavioural and structural HIV prevention interventions designed specifically for YMSM and young transgendered persons are severely lacking.

Young transgender women may require a fairly different package of combination HIV prevention interventions than young MSM. Although they may share some similar structural and social barriers, they face unique challenges, including those related to transitioning, gender discrimination, transphobia and violence [ ]. A recent review has highlighted the lack of evidence-based interventions for transgender populations and the need to understand differences between MSM and transgender populations and the heterogeneity within the group so that prevention and care can be implemented more effectively [ ].

Transgender persons have been largely underrepresented in biomedical and behavioural prevention trials and more work is needed to determine the ideal set of interventions in a combination prevention package for this population [ ]. For the purposes of this trial, the 3 MV intervention was adapted for use with youth groups of mixed racial and ethnic identities. To date some of the structural barriers to uptake of PrEP among YMSM have included cost of the medication and the comprehensive services required for those on PrEP, and limited access to primary care.

Providers may also be not offering PrEP to those most in need. To improve uptake of PrEP, we recommend more fully integrating the provision of PrEP into sexually transmitted infection STI services and educating health care providers about the efficacy of PrEP and strategies for providing culturally competent and non-judgmental care for young key populations. Combination prevention for HIV in young people who sell sex should include behavioural, structural and biomedical interventions.

Community empowerment, condom promotion, HTC with linkage to treatment and care services, STI treatment and health education have been shown to be effective interventions for sex workers, but they have not been taken to scale or adequately resourced in most parts of the world [ 9 ].

To be effective, interventions targeting young people who sell sex must address their specific needs and the unique barriers they face to accessing programs for adult sex workers.

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For example, young sex workers may not perceive HIV prevention programs to be relevant to them, and may face competition from adult sex workers, who act as gatekeepers to sex worker HIV prevention programs. Tailored programs for younger women also need to encompass interventions that address issues of social protection which can be implemented as required on a case by case basis.

Given that the majority of sex workers who acquire HIV are infected early in their career, programs need to have a strategy for identifying young people shortly after they start selling sex, and to facilitate their timely engagement with prevention services [ ]. Access to prevention services is also often hampered by the legal and policy environment. Criminalization of sex work in many settings results in young people who sell sex being afraid to seek services because of fear of arrest or imprisonment.

Some countries have mandatory reporting laws for people under 18 selling sex which put health care providers in direct conflict with their responsibility to provide confidential care [ 75 ]. Although there are examples of small scale HIV prevention programs targeting young people who sell sex, these existing approaches need to be scaled up more widely and evaluated to realize improvements in HIV prevention and sexual and reproductive health among this group. The program focuses on health education, skills building, assisting with linkage to services and violence prevention [ ].

In the Philippines, the River of Life Initiative works with young MSM who sell sex and uses peer to peer outreach to contact these hard to reach young men [ ]. To date, there have been no completed trials of PrEP conducted specifically among sex workers although two of the six trials demonstrating efficacy included sex worker participants, see Table 3. However, when the number needed to treat NNT to avert one HIV infection was estimated among sub-sets of women in the Partners PrEP trial, the NNT was lowest among women under 30 years and women who reported multiple high-risk behaviours.

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