Press Releases

Population Council Presents New Evidence on Reaching Key Populations Affected by HIV at the 21st International AIDS Conference

Council research provides evidence on how to reach youth and other at-risk populations with high-quality HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support

(Durban, SOUTH AFRICA) – New Population Council research findings will be presented at AIDS 2016 in 3 poster discussions, 22 posters, and 3 satellite sessions. Research conducted by partners under Council-led global projects will also be presented in 1 oral presentation and 8 poster presentations.

Studies led or conducted by Population Council researchers, and presented at AIDS 2016, will feature the latest evidence on strategies and approaches to:

  • Improve the well-being of the most vulnerable adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) and decrease their HIV risk through girl-centered programming;
  • Reduce HIV-related stigma among health workers providing HIV services to young people and increase young people’s HIV knowledge, self-efficacy, and successful use of HIV treatment;
  • Build the financial and social assets of male and female sex workers and increase their capacity to protect themselves from HIV;
  • Reduce HIV risk among men who have sex with men (MSM) and intravenous drug users (IDU) in settings in which those practices are highly stigmatized;
  • And many other topics related to reaching, engaging, and helping to protect members of key populations most vulnerable to HIV.

Also at AIDS2016, the Journal of the International AIDS Society (JIAS) will publish a special supplement featuring results and lessons learned from seven implementation science studies from the USAID-funded and Population Council-led HIVCORE Project.  The special supplement includes findings related to the retention of mothers and infants in PMTCT programs in Rwanda; attrition in ART programs in Uganda; accessibility to HIV services for persons with disabilities in Ghana, Uganda, and Zambia; linkages from HIV testing to enrollment and retention in care in Mozambique; the annual cost of different ART service delivery models in Uganda; and several other studies exploring barriers to and strategies to increase access to HIV prevention and care services in some of the most heavily affected countries in the world.

On Thursday, 21 July from 6:30 – 8:30 pm, the Population Council researchers will host a satellite session titled, “Girls and HIV: What We Know, What We Don’t Know and What We Need to Do to Reach 10- to 19-year-olds.” The satellite provides an opportunity to examine years of Population Council research and best practice guidance on reaching, and understanding and responding to the needs of often overlooked communities of adolescent girls and young women at particularly high risk for HIV.

There is broad agreement that connecting key populations to effective HIV prevention services and support is essential to stemming the epidemic. Key populations are different and diverse, however, and, to make a difference, programming and information must understand and respond to their specific needs. Population Council research has built the evidence base on what works for many key populations, in many geographies, and identifies the most effective strategies to improve lives and reduce the global epidemic.

“Population Council presentations at AIDS 2016 provide important new evidence about how to identify and meet the needs of the most at-risk populations, reduce the social and structural barriers to quality health services and care, and guide the policies and programs that can help achieve an HIV-free future,” said Population Council President Julia Bunting. “These studies shine new light on the realities that put adolescent girls and other key populations at risk for HIV, and provide critical evidence on how best to reduce those risks and help affected groups remain safe and healthy.” 

Population Council researchers at AIDS 2016 will present data from and participate in presentations on multiple research initiatives in which the Council is a key partner, including:

  • DREAMS, a visionary, 10-country initiative supported by PEPFAR, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Girl Effect to reduce HIV incidence among AGYW in some of the highest-burden areas in sub-Saharan Africa. The Council plays two roles in DREAMS, leading the initiative’s implementation science research portfolio, and strengthening the capacity of local DREAMS participating organizations to build girls’ social assets and reduce their risk of HIV.
  • HIVCore, which uses operations research, program evaluation, and capacity building to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, scale, and quality of HIV treatment, care, and support, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programs.
  • Project SOAR, uses the best available science, research expertise, and state-of-the-art methodologies to generate critical evidence to improve HIV prevention, care, and treatment policies and programs around the world.
  • Link Up, a global consortium working to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people aged 10–24 in Bangladesh, Burundi, Ethiopia, Myanmar, and Uganda. 

A full list of Population Council presentations at AIDS 2016 is attached, and is available here.

A Population Council webpage featuring tools and resources for those who work with or run programs focused on developing girls’ social, health, and other protective assets, and decreasing their risk of HIV infection, can be found here.

About the Population Council

The Population Council confronts critical health and development issues—from stopping the spread of HIV to improving reproductive health and ensuring that young people lead full and productive lives. Through biomedical, social science, and public health research in 50 countries, we work with our partners to deliver solutions that lead to more effective policies, programs, and technologies that improve lives around the world. Established in 1952 and headquartered in New York, the Council is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization governed by an international board of trustees.

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