The United Nations Development Program, UNDP Ghana office as part of efforts to address bottlenecks in accessibility to healthcare, provided the opportunity for an app to be developed for young persons living with HIV. The West Africa AIDS Foundation (WAAF) played a key role by having the CEO develop the content for the APP in consultation with members of Young Health Advocates – Ghana (YHAG), whilst the design and development of the app was done by an IT Developer. The goal of the app is for young people living with HIV to easily  access relevant health information to enhance care across the HIV cascade for the target group. The APP was named Youth+ (Positive living) app. The idea for an HIV related app, specifically for this target group was birthed from the realization by persons in this age bracket group,  that they lacked access to age specific information on HIV and hence many a time struggled to make informed decisions.

Dr. Vanderpuye -Donton, CEO of WAAF and a clinician with over 18 years of experience in HIV care and treatment, was contracted by UNDP-Ghana to provide content for the APP whilst Mr. Justice Akpadie, the IT Developer, was tasked with the design of all the APP’s features and subsequently, provide support and maintenance. The Youth Plus app has a user-friendly interface and is carefully designed to provide young people between the ages of 13 – 30 years with relevant age specific HIV information as well as referrals for more expert care. Examples of features available on the APP are general information on the basics of HIV, preventing other conditions whilst living with HIV, a list of all ART sites in the country and their locations, peer-to-peer chats where users of the app can chat among themselves and provide support for one another. Mentors and experts are also accessible on the app with whom users can book appointments for virtual or physical meetings.

Integrated in the development of the APP was the assurance of security for its users. Access to the app is therefore secured by a registration and account creation process that is approved by an approver. Other properties like HIV statistics, ARV & Medication, education on COVID 19 and vaccination, abuse and bullying, violence and discrimination, alcohol and drugs, diet and health, IQ test, Board games and other related resources meant to educate whilst entertaining users. The App can be found on the google play store for all android users and will soon also be available on the App store for iPhone users.

The goal is to have as many as possible from the target age group download and use the APP then eventually take over the management of its content which will enhance outcomes across the HIV cascade for this group. We are very grateful to the government of Japan through JICA and UNDP for providing the resources to make this very important tool available. We also thank Mr. Justice Akpadie for his great work in designing a very user-friendly APP and Dr. Vanderpuye -Donton for the great and relevant content. Click this link to read more about the Youth+ app.