Project: A prospective cohort study to assess the feasibility of enrolling and retaining adolescents at risk of HIV infection from hotspots in Kampala Uganda.

Acronym FERDAR (Reference Number: TMA2016CDF-1574)
Duration 01/08/2018 - 31/07/2021
Project Topic Despite the fact that adolescents are involved in risky behaviour such as early sexual debut, multiple sexual relationships, alcohol and substance use, there is limited adolescent friendly research, prevention and treatment services and yet involvement of adolescents in health research has substantial benefits for both HIV positive and HIV negative adolescents and their peers. The overall research question of this cohort study is to assess whether at-risk adolescents aged 14-19 years can be enrolled from hotspots and followed up regularly in a research clinic. Primary objectives: • To assess the feasibility of recruiting at-risk adolescent volunteers into a research clinic. • To determine baseline HIV prevalence and estimate HIV incidence • To estimate the annual retention rate Secondary objectives: • To estimate the baseline prevalence sexually transmitted infections. • To determine acceptability of periodic presumptive treatment for sexually transmitted infections • To determine reproductive health outcomes of volunteers • To determine the prevalence of substance use and gender based violence • To explore facilitators and barriers to participation in HIV prevention research using qualitative methods. Methods: We propose a 3-year cohort study. We shall use targeted recruitment and retention strategies to enroll and follow up a closed cohort of 500 adolescents (20% male) aged 14-19, resident in Kampala and involved in sex work. We shall administer a structured survey instrument at baseline to collect data on social demographics, sexual behavior and knowledge and uptake of HIV prevention methods contraceptive use, substance use, gender based violence. We shall also conduct biological testing for hepatitis B, gonorrhea and chlamydia at enrolment, HIV testing every 3 months and syphilis testing every 6 months, and collect qualitative data on individual and contextual barriers to participation in HIV prevention research. We will provide HIV counselling and testing, risk reduction counselling for HIV, STIs, and substance abuse, contraception, STI screening and treatment at baseline and periodic presumptive treatment (PPT) at follow up, free condoms and health education every three months. Impact statement: Our work will provide preliminary data on the burden of health problems of adolescents residing in hotspots and/ or involved in sex work and also inform recruitment and retention strategies to enable writing up of a larger study to deliver a combination of HIV prevention services including an education intervention on biomedical HIV prevention interventions, and to assess volunteer’s preparedness for HIV prevention trials.
Network EDCTP2
Call Career Development Fellowships

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Uganda National Health Research Organisation Coordinator Uganda