Lessons Learned in Centering Youth Voices in HIV Prevention: The Adolescent Health Working Group

Online Publication Date:
March 21, 2022
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**Published in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP) volume 16.4. All rights reserved.** ABSTRACT Background: There remains critical need for community-based approaches affirming youth voices and perspectives in HIV prevention. Objectives: We established an adolescent health working group (AHWG) to convene youth, parents, providers, and advocates in agenda-setting for interventions to increase Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake in Durham. Methods: Our two study phases included six AHWG meetings from 2019-2020, and youth-only meetings guided by a theoretical framework of participatory engagement known as Youth Generating and Organizing (GO). We also developed materials such as an AHWG mission statement and themes of outstanding HIV informational needs, recruited for youth-only meetings where data generation occurred, and solicited opinions about HIV risk and sustaining HIV prevention long-term. Lessons Learned/Conclusions: Engaging adults in youth-focused HIV prevention differs from engaging youth themselves. Creating a group in which to discuss adolescent sexual health involves a long-term vision of building trust, comfort and breaking down sensitivities and stigma to reduce HIV inequities.