Are HIV programmes missing the young who need them the most ?

Bobby Ramakant – CNS
Contd from previous issue
Self-stigma often results when self-issues interact with external causes (such as discrimination or violence in family, school, social or work settings), resulting in depression, low self-esteem, anger and self-harm, even suicidal intent.
Self-stigma contributes to ‘bridging behaviours’ – such as injecting drug use – that can increase a young person’s sexual risk-taking. Self-stigma appears to decrease condom use, as the need to feel love or affection outweighs long-term health consequences of unprotected sex. Also, those who have low self-esteem are less likely to have the power dynamics to negotiate condom use with their partner.
We need to stop neglecting self-stigma. Preventing HIV infections in key populations, requires addressing self-stigma and the linkages with HIV vulnerability and risk behaviours.
Applesta underlined the need to pay more attention to mental health. She stressed upon strengthening HIV prevention services with full range of HIV prevention tools and approaches available and accessible to the young key populations. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is yet to be made available widely in India. Post-Exposure Prophylaxis also needs to be made more widely accessible.
(To be contd)