Meet & Greet: Grace Muthoni - organisational development officer MAXFACTA Youth Group Kenya

April 12, 2016

Grace Muthoni is organisational development officer at the Kenyan MAXFACTA Youth Group. MAXFACTA conducted a research with regard to service uptake among young people living with HIV. Grace tells us all about surprising findings from the study and how recommendations already provided a basis in design of upcoming programmes. Meet Grace!

Significant gap in partner disclosure as surprising finding from our research

Most surprising in our research was a low sense of shared responsibility around HIV prevention. This affects disclosure of HIV status by young people living with HIV. Almost half of the respondents fail to disclose their status to sexual partners due to fear of rejection and discrimination.

Respondents also noted that they have access to HIV testing services, psychosocial support and uninterrupted supplies of ARVs. However, a few challenges remain with regard to knowledge about treatment. One-fifth of the participants indicated that they did not know their CD4 count; an indication of gaps in treatment literacy among the respondents. 

Understanding the need to involve young people in programme design

The research has helped us integrate the PHDP* principle in all our programs. Currently MAXFACTA has involved young members in the program design of the upcoming Get Up, Speak Out: For Youth Rights programme. We are using the research results and recommendations in proposing outcomes and strategies geared towards ensuring that young people access information and service needed, and also make informed choices.

Furthermore MAXFACTA is exploring the possibility of getting into a partnership with International Treatment Preparedness Coalition East Africa on developing a treatment literacy curriculum for young people living with HIV, and conduct treatment literacy to this target group.

A factsheet and the full report of the study are available.

* ‘Positive Health, Dignity and Prevention’ (PHDP) is a new UN-approved human rights-based policy framework, which helps people living with HIV lead a complete and healthy life and reduce the risk of transmission of the virus to others.

In 2002 a group of young people living with HIV/AIDS founded Maximizing facts on HIV/AIDS (MAXFACTA) Youth Group. This community-based organisation provides quality care, prevention and act as a forum for mutual empowerment and support to enable them to live positively.

In 2014, a study was conducted as a part of the Access, Services and Knowledge (ASK) programme. Aim of the research was to assess the extent to which the rights and needs of youth living with HIV, including their access to HIV and sexual reproductive health services are being addressed through existing national AIDS programmes. The MAXFACTA youth Group was a principle investigator of this study. Young people living with HIV led the design and the implementation of this research.

This article was published in the STOP AIDS NOW! e-news April 2016: "Focus on research"