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This paper discusses the limitations of conventional Information, Education and Communication (IEC) approaches to HIV prevention and describes Stepping Stones, one approach which 1) is more holistic in recognising the location of HIV in a broader sexual and reproductive health (SRH) context; 2) emphasises the importance of a gendered perspective throughout; and 3) works on the basis that, with good facilitation, ordinary community members are those most able to develop the best solutions for their own sexual health needs.
Despite decades of investment in HIV prevention, a large and vulnerable population—that of adolescent girls—remains invisible, underserved, and at disproportionate risk of HIV. Given the changing shape of the epidemic and the leveling off or shrinking of resources, there is an urgent need to rebalance HIV investments between treatment and prevention and to develop evidence-based approaches for protecting the large and vulnerable populations of adolescent girls who remain at risk of HIV. This paper outlines a stepwise engagement process for improving girls’ lives and reducing their HIV risk.