The need for HIV prevention among adolescent girls and young women in South Africa
There is an urgent need for gender-focused and targeted HIV prevention efforts among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in South Africa, with one such measure being the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. PrEP, when taken as prescribed, is a medicine that significantly reduces the chance of acquiring HIV. However, multiple factors need to be addressed to support AGYW initiation and uptake of PrEP, including addressing intersectional forms of stigma and discrimination (S&D) in clinics, and interpersonal factors at the individual level. Intersectional S&D towards AGYW is the convergence of multiple stigmatized identities, such as age, health, gender, behavior, and socioeconomic status. It is not only important to continue seeking out the best modes of HIV prevention among young women, but to also promote and implement comprehensive gender-focused biobehavioral interventions that address the whole clinic experience to remove as many barriers to HIV prevention as possible.