The DTHC/F Adolescent Division seeks to position itself as a responsive role-player in effecting positive change with respect to adolescent health within the specific context of an African youth bulge. Adolescents and young people face challenges of vulnerability to HIV and other sexual reproductive health and mental health issues which undermine the health and wellbeing of adolescents and their futures as adults and parents.

Key research project include:

  • the Our Family Our Future study (funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health), a resilience-oriented family intervention to prevent adolescent HIV/STI infection and depression in South Africa;
  • the IMARA study (funded by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) a multilevel comprehensive HIV prevention package for South African adolescent girls and young women that delivers a sexual education and skills building programme aimed to improve support and communication between girls and young women and their mothers or other female caregivers; and the BUDDY study (funded by Viiv Healthcare and Swedish Research Council), examining the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a novel remote service delivery model implemented among young people living with HIV who have initiated ART. It sought to facilitate engagement in HIV care during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to investigate the impact of the lock-down orders on young people, with a particular focus on gender-based violence.
  • DigiTaPP, a study to understand digitally driven risk networks to inform user-centric target product profiles (TPP) for next-generation HIV vaccines. The protocol is now complete and will involve research with a range of key target populations including adolescents, across three countries.
  • FASTPrEP is an implementation science project that aims to scale up oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and new biomedical HIV prevention products through differentiated models of service delivery to adolescent girls and young women, their partners and young MSM. The FastPrEP study is being implemented in the Klipfontein-Mitchells Plain Health Sub-district in Cape Town and will investigate what is needed to saturate a health subdistrict with easily accessible prevention including PrEP.

The adolescent division has also run several initiatives related to training and capacity building in adolescent research such as the 2022 and 2023 IAVI e-fellowship programme aimed at building capacity in African researchers to conduct research with adolescents. Fellows from African countries were linked to mentors who are experts in their fields of interest, and supported to achieve their chosen goals, including writing grants, papers and proposals, while also attending research seminars and other training opportunities.

The adolescent programme team also hosts webinar and health webinar series as well as training courses, see Training courses – Desmond Tutu Health Foundation

To read more about the recent and ongoing research and activities of the DTHF adolescent division please look at the information provided in our most recent annual review:

Adolescent Programme – Desmond Tutu Health Foundation