Washington University in St. Louis: Ssewamala receives $3.2M to address HIV stigma among Ugandan teens

In Uganda, a sub-Saharan country that is home to more than 170,000 adolescents living with HIV, HIV stigma continues to be a significant barrier to HIV treatment adherence. This contributes to low rates of medication adherence and viral suppression as well high attrition from HIV treatment services. These issues are even more pronounced for adolescents with HIV in boarding schools.

Researchers Fred Ssewamala, the William E. Gordon Distinguished Professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, and Massy Mutumba, assistant professor at the University of Michigan, have teamed up to try to reverse these trends with a new five-year $3.2 million study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Their project will examine the impact of a multilevel intervention to reduce HIV stigma and improve treatment outcomes among adolescents in Uganda. Training for education professionals — educators, school directors, teachers and school nurses — occurs concurrently with multiple family group interventions. The family sessions have a two-fold focus:

HIV stigma reduction and a family economic empowerment intervention on HIV treatment adherence
Engagement in care among adolescents living with HIV attending boarding schools in Uganda

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