Chris Gray and the POFO team recently published the article Potentially traumatic experiences and sexual health among orphaned and separated adolescents in five low- and middle-income countries in AIDS Care.
Orphans and separated children (OSC) are a vulnerable population whose numbers are increasing, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. As younger orphans enter adolescence, their sexual health and HIV-related risk behaviors become key considerations for their overall health. Their high prevalence of exposure to potentially traumatic events (PTEs) put OSC at additional risk for adverse sexual health outcomes. This study highlights the need for caregivers, program managers, and policymakers to promote condom use for sexually active OSC and identify interventions for trauma support services. Orphans living in family-based care may also be particularly vulnerable to early sexual debut and unprotected sexual activity.