What We Learned
Girls Don’t Live Their Lives in Siloes
An evaluation of a girls’ empowerment program in Zambia found that while the program was not broadly impactful for the most vulnerable girls, and that programs must address the underlying economic and social constraints surrounding them.
When designing a similar program in Kenya, we incorporated community components into the program.
Significant improvements across a range of outcomes for many more girls.
A One-Size Fits All Approach to Contraception for Adolescents Won't Work
It's assumed that young people will go to public health clinics to access a full range of contraceptive methods. However, our research tells us otherwise.
We know that:
- Adolescents are largely going to pharmacies, not public-health facilities, to access contraception.
- And more than half (54%) of sexually active or married adolescents have never used any contraceptive method.
- Only 2.5% of them are using a long-acting method.
Developing HIV Prevention Methods Means Understanding Women’s Lived Experiences
Population Council researchers took Carraguard, a gel used before sex, through a Phase III clinical trial with the hope it would prevent HIV in women.
Carraguard was found to be safe, but it didn’t prevent HIV; not enough women used it consistently.
But Carraguard did show researchers that it’s not enough for a woman to like a product; it has to be feasible for the realities of her life. That lesson reverberates with HIV prevention research today.
What We Learned: Preventing HIV in Adolescent Girls Requires Understanding Their Partners
Council-led research from the DREAMS Initiative shows that in three African nations:
- More than half of men reported multiple concurrent partnerships with adolescent girls and older partners in the last year.
- About half of men’s sexual relationships were transactional in nature and characterized by inconsistent condom use.
- Male partners of adolescent girls experience high rates of trauma and violence in their own lives.
In order to prevent HIV in adolescent girls, engaging men in HIV prevention and targeted health services is critical.