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OBJECTIVE: We are failing to reach 95-95-95 for adolescents living with HIV (ALHIV). Sexual abuse and intimate partner violence (IPV) may impact antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence, with high rates of 17.4 and 29.7%, respectively, across the southern sub-Saharan African region. However, evidence on their associations with adolescent ART adherence remains limited, with only three cross-sectional studies globally. DESIGN: A prospective cohort of ALHIV (sample N = 980, 55% female individuals, baseline mean age 13.6 years) were recruited from 53 health facilities in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province and responded to a structured questionnaire at 18-month and 36-month follow-up (2015-2016, 2017-2018). METHODS: A repeated-measures random effects model assessed multivariable associations of self-reported sexual abuse and IPV with past-week ART adherence, controlling for individual, socioeconomic, and HIV-related factors. Past-week adherence was defined based on currently taking ART and not having missed any doses in the past 7 days (including weekends). We further fitted a moderation model by sex. RESULTS: Fifty-one percent of adolescents reported consistent ART adherence at both time points. Exposure to IPV was associated with lower odds of self-reported ART adherence (aOR 0.39, 95% CI 0.21-0.72, P = 0.003), as was sexual abuse (aOR 0.54, 95% CI 0.29-0.99, P = 0.048). The marginal predicted probability of ART adherence for adolescents with no exposure to either IPV or sexual abuse was 72% (95% CI 70-74%) compared with 38% (95% CI 20-56%) for adolescents with exposure to both IPV and sexual abuse. Moderation results showed similar associations between sexual violence and ART adherence by sex. CONCLUSION: Sexual violence prevention and postviolence care may be essential components of supporting adolescent ART adherence. Integration of HIV and violence prevention services will require accessible services and simple referral systems.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





503 - 511


Humans, Adolescent, Female, Male, HIV Infections, Risk Factors, South Africa, Cross-Sectional Studies, Prospective Studies, Sex Offenses, Intimate Partner Violence, Anti-Retroviral Agents, Sexual Partners