The Psychosocial Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Youth Living with HIV in Western Kenya

AIDS Behav. 2021 Jan;25(1):68-72. doi: 10.1007/s10461-020-03005-x.


The objective of this study was to assess psychosocial effects of COVID-19 among adolescents living with HIV (ALHIV) in Kenya and to assess the feasibility of conducting behavioral surveys by phone. We adapted our protocol to administer telephone rather than in-person follow-up surveys and included questions about COVID-19. The majority of participants (99%) reported having heard of COVID-19; 23% reported no longer being able to go outside, 17% reported that they could no longer go to their regular clinic for medical care, and 3% reported that they could no longer get medication refills. PHQ-9 screening identified 9% (n = 45) with mild depression symptoms, and 1% (n = 3) with moderate-to-severe depression symptoms. Young adults 20-24 years old had more mild to severe depressive symptoms than the younger age groups (p < 0.001). Offering remote peer-support or mental health care, continuing to offer differentiated care services, and considering financial support will support the health and well-being of ALHIV.

Keywords: Adolescent; Depression; Differentiated care; HIV; Kenya.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • COVID-19 / psychology*
  • Child
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2*
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-HIV Agents