Operation Triple Zero – Empowering the Youth to Overcome HIV

Ciheb-Kenya, in collaboration with the county governments of Nairobi, Migori, and Kisumu, organized the Operation Triple Zero (OTZ) Fun Days. The events focused on empowering male and female adolescents and young people living with HIV (AYPLHIV) to commit to the “triple zero outcomes”:

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Zero missed appointments: Adolescents commit to adhering to and keeping all their scheduled clinic appointments to ensure they receive the full care package and continuity in care.
Zero missed drugs: Adolescents committing to keeping all scheduled clinical appointments means they will never miss their drugs. OTZ empowers adolescents to face any challenges they may have and commit to adhering to their medication 100%.
Zero viral load: Adolescents commit to be virally suppressed by ensuring optimal medication adherence, hence good clinical outcomes, improved quality of life, and reduced transmission of HIV among adolescents.

The participants, drawn from facilities within the counties, presented dances and skits themed on adherence to clinical appointments, medication, and viral suppression.

How OTZ Works

Operation Triple Zero’s target is AYPLHIV of ages 10-24 years. Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are particularly vulnerable, accounting for one-third of all new HIV infections and 15% of all HIV-related fatalities. Adolescents and young people living with HIV (AYPLHIV) have lower suppression rates than adults, often owing to poor adherence to treatment and other factors such a lack of age-appropriate care, provider prejudice, and self-stigma.

The intervention is designed to promote positive behaviors and better health outcomes by nurturing both intrinsic and extrinsic developmental assets. Intrinsic assets are strengthened among AYPLHIV by offering comprehensive treatment literacy and goal planning, increasing resilience, and facilitating positive peer interactions, independence, and connectivity.
Comprehensive HIV treatment literacy training ensures that participants have a thorough awareness of the physical changes that result from HIV infection, as well as HIV prevention and antiretroviral therapy (ARVs). According to national recommendations, the training also emphasizes intended antiretroviral treatment goals, such as enhanced quality of life. To assist AYPLHIV, extrinsic assets are nurtured by giving healthcare workers (HCWs) and caregivers knowledge and skills. The combination of intrinsic and extrinsic assets results in AYPLHIV who are self-health managers who are empowered and confident.

HIV poses a risk among adolescents in Kenya, and Ciheb-Kenya is helping to address the rising HIV infection rates and high morbidity and mortality rates among adolescents through OTZ. Further, OTZ uses a contextual “asset-based approach,” whereby adolescents are considered resources with potential answers to their challenges and are empowered to take responsibility and action for their health.