The purpose of the Youth Clinic in Philippi Village is to conduct clinical trials for adolescent girls in a safe and friendly environment.
The Youth Clinic will conduct a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and dapivirine vaginal ring study among young women aged 16-21 years old, also known as the Reversing the Epidemic in Africa with Choices in HIV prevention (REACH) study. Young women in sub-Saharan Africa are especially vulnerable to HIV infection because of economic, social and behavioural factors that make behaviour-dependent methods of prevention such as condom use difficult. In addition, there is limited access to youth-friendly health services where staff is non-judgmental with respect to adolescent sexual behaviour. While injectable prevention methods and a vaccine hold promise for the future, this clinical trial will investigate the safety and acceptability of the only two currently proven HIV prevention methods. It will also provide information on preference for PrEP or the vaginal ring when there is an option to choose.