To stem the HIV epidemic among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW, 15–24 years), prevention programs need to reach AGYW who are most at risk. We examine whether individual- and household-level factors could be used to define HIV vulnerability for AGYW.
We surveyed out-of-school AGYW in urban and peri-urban Kenya (N = 1014), in urban Zambia (N = 846), and in rural Malawi (N = 1654) from October 2016 to 2017. LCA identified classes based on respondent characteristics, attitudes and knowledge, and household characteristics. Multilevel regressions examined associations between class membership and HIV-related health outcomes.
We identified two latent classes—high and low HIV vulnerability profiles—among AGYW in each country; 32% of the sample in Kenya, 53% in Malawi, and 51% in Zambia belonged to the high vulnerability group. As compared to AGYW with a low-vulnerability profile, AGYW with a high-vulnerability profile had significantly higher odds of HIV-related outcomes (e.g., very early sexual debut, transactional sex, sexual violence from partners).
Out-of-school AGYW had differential vulnerability to HIV. Interventions should focus on reaching AGYW in the high HIV vulnerability profiles.