WP 191 Drivers of HIV/AIDS Among Cameroonian Youth: A Review

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
International Ballroom
Agnes Arrey, Ph.D Student1, Johan Bilsen, Ph.D1, Peter Delobelle, MD, Ph.D FRSPH2 and Reginald Deschepper, Ph.D1, 1Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium, 2Department of Public Health, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium

Background:  HIV/AIDS remains a major global health concern and in sub-Saharan Africa the disease is a major cause of death for people between 15 and 49 years. Cameroon has a generalized HIV/AIDS epidemic with a prevalence of 4.5% among the population. About 600.000 people are living with HIV/AIDS as of 2011. Young people with HIV/AIDS become ill and dysfunctional, weakening family and community dynamics. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is particularly devastating in resource-poor environments where people focus more on their daily survival than on health and preventive measures. Understanding the intertwining factors driving HIV/AIDS among Cameroonian youth is essential for planning HIV/AIDS prevention and health promotion interventions. The aim of the article was to review the important factors driving HIV/AIDS among Cameroonian youth.

Methods:A literature review was conducted using Medline, Sociological Abstracts and Google Scholar to screen studies related to factors driving HIV prevalence among Cameroonian youth. Bibliographies of retrieved articles were hand-searched and included to highlight important points. Websites of major International organizations and non-governmental organizations were also accessed for inclusion of gray literature.

Results: There is consensus in the literature that socioeconomic inequalities and deprivation, cultural beliefs, health inequities, migratory tendencies, lack of awareness of HIV status propagate HIV/AIDS among youth in Cameroon. The severity and prolonged duration of HIV/AIDS disease in patients increase school drop-out rates among youth, increase job loss and decrease income, increase healthcare cost, stigma and discrimination.

Conclusions: HIV/AIDS prevention inequalities still persist. The involvement of youth in the generation of appropriate preventive messages and programs that create environments conducive to driving down HIV/AIDS prevalence should be prioritized. Socio-economic and cultural realities that influence sexual health should be addressed in changing and improving prevention efforts in the course of the epidemic. Resources should be effectively focused in areas with high disease prevalence and likelihood of new infections.