Vulnerability Multiplied: Health Needs Assessment of 13-18-Year-Old Female Orphan and Vulnerable Children in Kenya

Rosy Chhabra, Nehama Teitelman, Ellen J. Silver, Jill Raufman, Laurie J. Bauman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Globally, orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs) affected/infected by HIV/AIDS face many health risks, including malnutrition, early/unprotected sex, early forced marriage, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), substance abuse, child labor, and high rates of mental health problems. We conducted formative research on mental health issues and HIV/STI risk behavior in Kasarani, a large slum in Nairobi, to guide the development of future interventions. Collaborating with a local community hospital, we used focus groups in the community to gather information that was used to generate a survey of 261 OVCs aged 13-18 years. Focus groups converged in deeming that OVCs were a high-risk group, and girls were especially at higher health risk. Living within an impoverished environment makes these girls vulnerable to marginalization and exploitation. Specific concerns for girls included peer pressure, depression, suicidal ideation, sexual relationship with infected partners, lack of health education (specifically HIV/STI prevention information), and sexual exploitation by older men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalWorld Medical and Health Policy
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • HIV/STI prevention
  • Mental health
  • OVC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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