Dow DE, Mmbaga BT, Turner EL, Gallis JA, Tabb ZJ, Cunningham CK, O'Donnell KE. Building resilience: a mental health intervention for Tanzanian youth living with HIV. AIDS care. 30(30). 12-20. PMID: 30626197 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC6422704 NIHMSID: NIHMS1512328.
Despite a growing population of youth living with HIV, few interventions have been developed to address their unique mental health needs and to promote resilience. Based on our prior needs assessment, a mental health intervention, Sauti ya Vijana ( The Voice of Youth), was developed to address identified mental health needs and promote resilience. The intervention emphasized resilience strategies for identifying and coping with stressful events, supporting strong familial and social relationships, and planning for a safe and healthy living environment through stigma reduction, planning for disclosure, and instilling hope for the future. Ten group sessions (two of which were joint youth/caregiver sessions) and two individual sessions were developed around these three resilience domains. Youth living with HIV (average age 17.4 years), who were receiving antiretroviral therapy and attending HIV adolescent clinic in Tanzania were randomized to intervention or treatment as usual. Trained group leaders led the intervention sessions. Near perfect program fidelity by the group leaders and unanimous acceptance of the intervention by the youth was documented. SYV successfully promoted youth resilience as measured by youth-reported utilization of new coping skills, improved peer and caregiver relationships, reduced stigma, and improved confidence to live positively according to their personal values.