Review Article

The impact of COVID-19 on HIV treatment of adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa: A scoping review

Yolanda R. Mayman, Brian van Wyk
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 28 | a2226 | DOI: | © 2023 Yolanda R. Mayman, Brian van Wyk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 October 2022 | Published: 27 September 2023

About the author(s)

Yolanda R. Mayman, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Brian van Wyk, School of Public Health, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa


Background: Adolescents living with HIV are a key population who are susceptible to poor health. The global coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic and widespread national COVID-19 restrictions has disrupted health service delivery and HIV support services, affecting treatment adherence among adolescents with HIV.

Aim: This study aimed to review the available literature on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the HIV treatment of adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa.

Method: Seven online databases were searched for articles published between 2020 and 2022 that focused on the impact of COVID-19 on adolescents living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy. A data charting extraction form and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Protocol (PRISMA) flowchart were used for screening and reporting the articles in this review. A narrative synthesis was conducted.

Results: Five overarching themes emerged from the articles in this review, which highlighted the mental, social, and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the impact of the reallocation of healthcare services and challenges to accessing HIV care services on the antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence of adolescents living with HIV.

Conclusion: The global COVID-19 pandemic affected adolescents living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa in many ways, but very little research has been done to describe the various ways in which the physical and mental well-being of adolescents were impacted.

Contribution: The findings of this review can be used to further inform policies and interventions aimed at the care and well-being of adolescents on antiretroviral therapy within sub-Saharan Africa.


COVID-19; adolescents; HIV; antiretroviral therapy; treatment outcomes adherence; social support; economic impact

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being


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Crossref Citations

1. Health Workers’ Responses to COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impact on Service Delivery to Adolescents in HIV Treatment in Cape Town, South Africa: A Qualitative Study
Yolanda Mayman, Talitha Crowley, Brian van Wyk
Healthcare  vol: 12  issue: 6  first page: 609  year: 2024  
doi: 10.3390/healthcare12060609