When the many factors that put youth at risk for getting HIV are addressed, it is possible to prevent HIV. HIV prevention strategies include testing, condom distribution, evidence-based interventions, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), social media, and social marketing campaigns.
Advantages of Youth HIV Prevention Strategies
Youth HIV prevention strategies have advantages that include:
- Serving individuals, groups of youth, or whole communities
- Supporting healthy youth development
- Increasing youth knowledge of sexual health, healthy relationships, HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and resources available in the community
- Increasing youth access to and use of condoms
- Connecting youth at risk for HIV to testing, medical services, and social services
- Incorporating already developed, evaluated, and packaged curricula and implementation materials
Note: Some funders require the use of evidence-based interventions and best and emerging practices.
Challenges for Successful Youth HIV Prevention Strategies
When implementing strategies designed to serve youth and high-risk populations, be aware of the following challenges:
- With many evidence-based interventions (EBIs) available, it takes time to research those that meet the community's needs
- Sometimes multi-session programs have difficulty with retention and need to focus on engaging participants
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth need to be supported by programs that create inclusive environments
- A social media and social marketing plan must be targeted to reach a specific audience effectively and adapt to continuously evolving social media platforms
- Keeping your resources up-to-date resources on youth sexual health and HIV prevention and treatment
- Helping youth understand the different kinds of HIV tests and make decisions about whether to share their HIV test results with other people
Recommendations for Successful Youth HIV Prevention Strategies
Successful strategies are those that are responsive to community need, coordinated, and employ professionally trained staff and peer leaders. This section provides practical tools and resources for implementing HIV testing, condom distribution, evidence-based interventions, biomedical interventions like PrEP and PEP, and social media and social marketing tools.