Report of the consultation on the treatment of HIV among adolescents

Meeting report - 22-23 September 2014
Château de Penthes, Geneva, Switzerland


An estimated 2.1 million adolescents (10–19 years of age) globally were living with HIV in 2012. HIV-related deaths among adolescents are estimated to have tripled since 2000, making HIV the number two cause of death among adolescents worldwide. While there is a lack of data on HIV mortality and survival times in the age groups 5-14 year, it appears that that adolescents (10-19 years) are underserved by current HIV services and have significantly worse access to and coverage of antiretroviral therapy (ART) than adults. In addition, many of the >600,000 children started on ART are surviving and growing into adolescence, requiring more complex support to remain in care, adhere to ART, and cope with the developmental issues of adolescence in addition to HIV.

WHO, together with partners launched HIV and adolescents: guidance for HIV testing and counselling and care for adolescents living with HIV on World AIDS Day in December 2013. The recommendations emphasize the importance of considering the range of adolescents’ needs when planning HIV testing and counselling and care services. To further support the implementation of the guidance, an interactive web tool has been developed. Additional considerations for adolescents from key populations were highlighted in the Consolidated guidelines on HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for key populations and the draft technical brief series on HIV and young key populations. Along with this increased attention to adolescents, further efforts are required to address their specific ARV treatment and related care needs.

To better address adolescents in the updated consolidated ARV guidelines, WHO Departments of HIV/AIDS and Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health convened a meeting to review the existing available data on specific adolescent treatment issues. This meeting provided an opportunity to bring together researchers, clinicians, programme managers, adolescents living with HIV and other experts from both paediatric and adult care to consider the issues and provide direction to WHO on how best to address these issues as part of the 2015 Consolidated ARV Guidelines revisions.