7 Dec 2022


Teens and HIV: What You Need to Know

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Adolescent teens aged 10 to 19 years are prone to HIV infection due to social and economic factors. Teens particularly girls living in areas with generalized HIV epidemic are usually exposed to the diseases through drug injection and sexual encounters (De Chesnay & Anderson, 2020). Developing a teaching plan with recommendation and health promotion strategies is critical in minimizing HIV infection rates among teens 


On a global scale, approximately 1.6 million teens in 2018 between 10 and 19 years were found to have contracted HIV. The adolescents represent about 4% of people diagnosed with the condition worldwide. The number of girls aged 10 to 19 living with HIV are around 970,000 while boys are 680,000 ( Chanda-Kapata et al., 2016) . The estimated number of teens dying of HIV are 17,000 girls and 16,000 boys. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia region has recorded the highest number of HIV positive adolescents. Of the 1.6 million teens who have contracted HIV, an estimated 1.5 million equivalent to 89% reside in Sub-Saharan Africa ( Chanda-Kapata et al., 2016) . According to UNICEF, adolescent girls account for about three quarters of novel HIV infections. In East Asia, Middle East, North Africa and the Pacific, the numbers of infections among boys is higher than in girls. 

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Strategies to Prevent Illness and Promote Health 

Abstaining from Sex 

Strategies for HIV prevention and health promotion empower teens and their communities through sensitization on healthy behaviours to reduce the risk of HIV infection. One of the strategies that teens can adopt is sex abstinence. The venerable group should not involve themselves in vaginal, oral or anal sex to minimize HIV infection rates. 

Involvement in less risk sexual activities 

Additionally, teens should choose less risky sexual behaviours for example engaging in sexual behaviours that carries lower risk of contracting HIV for example oral instead of anal or vaginal sex. According to Fisher et al., (2016), anal sex carries the highest HIV infection risk in relation to vaginal and oral sex. 

Using Condoms 

Use of condoms is a behavioral change that tens can use to lower likelihood of contracting HIV. Teens should be encouraged to carry condoms and use them correctly during sexual encounters. 

Reducing Sex partners 

The teens should work on reducing number of sexual partners. As Fisher et al., (2016), explain, the risk of HIV infection rises with the number of sex partners that a person has. A high number of sex partners implies a high risk of acquiring HIV infection. 

Avoid drugs during sex 

Teens ought to avoid mix drinking or indulging in drugs with sex. Using drugs impairs a person’s ability to make rational decision. As such teens who use drugs and engage in sex are likely not to use protection during sexual encounter which increases ther risk of getting HIV. 

HIV Testing 

Teens should visit health centers for HIV testing if one is sexually active ( Boyd et al., 2018) . HIV testing would promote the health of already infected through behavioural and diet changes. 

Pre-exposure prophylaxis 

High risk HIV negative teens should talk to health providers on pre-exposure prophylaxis. The negative teens who have positive partners should always use pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent HIV infection. If one has been exposed to HIV, it would be imperative to use PEP before 3 days are over to reduce chances of HIV infection. 


Prevention strategies such as reducing sexual partner numbers, using condoms, not sharing injection needles, use of pre-exposure prophylaxis and abstaining from sexual activities contribute to significant reduction of HIV infection. 


Boyd, D., Lea III, C. H., Gilbert, K. L., & Butler-Barnes, S. T. (2018). Sexual health conversations: Predicting the odds of HIV testing among Black youth and young adults.  Children and Youth Services Review

Chanda-Kapata, P., Klinkenberg, E., Maddox, N., Ngosa, W., & Kapata, N. (2016). The prevalence and socio-economic determinants of HIV among teenagers aged 15–18 years who were participating in a mobile testing population based survey in 2013–2014 in Zambia.  BMC public health 16 (1), 789. 

De Chesnay, M. & Anderson, B. (2020). Caring for the vulnerable: perspectives in nursing theory, practice, and research, 5th edition. |Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC. 

Fisher, H. H., Hoyte, T., Purcell, D. W., Van Handel, M., Williams, W., Krueger, A., ... & Wan, C. (2016). Health department HIV prevention programs that support the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: the Enhanced Comprehensive HIV Prevention Planning project, 2010–2013.  Public Health Reports 131 (1), 185-194. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 17). Teens and HIV: What You Need to Know.


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