Priorities for Local AIDS Control Efforts Project

Eswatini, known for having the world’s highest prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS, faces a significant challenge in reducing new infections among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW). Recognizing the urgency, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) launched the DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe) Initiative, supported by USAID, to address this issue. The DREAMS initiative in collaboration with IHM Southern Africa, conducted a research study called Priorities for Local AIDS Control Efforts (PLACE) to inform targeted interventions.

The study identified 777 spots across 19 priority areas where AGYW encounter new sexual partners, emphasizing the need to strengthen prevention services and education in these locations. Findings showed that adolescent girls were more likely to be in school, dependent on others, and living in stable environments, while young women were often employed, independent, and in committed partnerships with children. The study highlighted the importance of targeted interventions and outreach efforts at these meeting spots.

The findings from the PLACE study provide crucial insights for developing targeted HIV prevention strategies for AGYW in Eswatini. By addressing the specific contexts and behaviors associated with new infections, interventions can effectively reach and empower AGYW. IHM Southern Africa’s collaboration in this research contributes to evidence-based approaches aimed at reducing HIV incidence and improving the overall well-being of AGYW in Eswatini.