Global Engagement of Youth

Our purpose at 4 Youth By Youth (4YBY) is to promote youth participation in innovation and entrepreneurial activities that lead to sustainable solutions for health. We value young people and the change they can make in our societies, and we aim to engage youth in all aspects of research. Our in-country youth ambassadors are advocates of youth engagement and promote the health of youth in their communities. They guide and support youth to improve and sustain their well-being. Our U.S.-based youth researchers, in collaboration with the Nigerian team, focus on the I-TEST (Innovative Tools to Expand HIV Self-Testing) manuscript preparation to present our new knowledge and findings. Together, we work towards advancing youth involvement in intervention components and implementation strategies for sustainable HIV prevention and communicate I-TEST research strategies and results to a wide array of audiences through different online and offline mediums. 

Our current Saint Louis University undergraduate research assistants, Karan and Jessica, submitted an abstract to the Consortium of Universities for Global Health’s (CUGH) annual conference. The abstract was also selected as one of the finalists for the Lancet Student GH Poster Competition. Their paper titled “A Qualitative Study to Explore Message Framing to Promote HIV Self-testing among Youth in Nigeria” explored the gain- and loss-framed HIV self-testing (HIVST) messages from youth narratives from the December 2018 and 2019 World’s AIDS Day 4YBY open calls, which is part of the I-TEST research study. With the goal of informing youth-oriented interventions on the promotion and uptake of HIVST, the gain-framed explanations were those that described HIVST in reference to benefits or positive outcomes whereas loss-framed explanations were those that related costs associated with failed adoption of HIVST. From both contests, a total of 1,251 entries were submitted, with 50% (549) of entries from females. From the entries, 16.87% (211/1,251) included gain- or loss-framed messages with 82.5% (174/211) containing gain-framed content and 17% (36/211) containing loss-framed content. 

An example quotation of a gain-framed message is: 

HIV/AIDS is not the end of the world but just the beginning of a new life”. 

And a sample quotation of a loss-framed message is: 

“Without knowing the extent of how many people are living with HIV it is hard to mitigate new infections and provide HIV treatment to the society at large.”

There were four main gain-framed themes:

  1. Creating promotional communication to strengthen youths’ confidence: 22.7% (48/211)
  2. Benefits of accrued HIVST understanding: 40.3% (85/211)
  3. Messaging to defeat testing worry and distress: 10% (21/211)
  4. Dismantling stigma related to HIV: 9.5% (20/211)

and three major loss-framed themes:

  1. Drawing attention to challenges of those who live with HIV: 4.3% (9/211)
  2. Repercussions of failure to test for HIV 8.5% (18/211)
  3. Heightened risk of obtaining or spreading HIV: 4.7% (10/211)

How we frame promotional messages is vital in encouraging youth to self-test for HIV. The gain- and loss-framed findings help inform message formation, but further research is needed to understand the balance of adoption or abandonment of behaviors and uptake of HIVST if promoted at a national scale in Nigeria.  

Every year CUGH holds a conference in which a variety of individuals from diverse global health disciplines participate through pre-conference satellite sessions and the main conference event. This year’s annual conference was hosted virtually from March 12-14, 2021, and aimed towards the topic “Addressing Critical Gaps in Global Health Development”. Participants were able to join through the virtual platform to view presentations from professionals and speakers worldwide concerning ways to improve the health of people and the environment and were challenged to network with other participating individuals and speakers.

After the acceptance of their abstract, Karan and Jess were invited to create an E-poster (included below) in which they recorded and uploaded their presentation and poster for viewers to engage and ask questions during the conference this past weekend. 

Here’s what Karan and Jess had to say about their first time conference experience:

“This was my first time participating in a conference and creating an abstract e-poster, so the process seemed daunting at first. Fortunately, Karan and I are surrounded by great, dedicated mentors on the I-TEST team who are always eager to offer help and guidance. It was so rewarding to have our hard work presented for conference attendees to learn more about HIV-self testing among youth in Nigeria. It was equally as fulfilling to view the research of other students and be inspired by future and current leaders in global health. I am so grateful to have experienced CUGH and am looking forward to attending many more conferences!” – Jess, Undergraduate Research Assistant

“Since it was Jess and I’s first ever conference, we were definitely very grateful for the opportunity to present. I was really glad our hard work in preparing for the conference paid off. I am really excited to see what the future holds with our research and looking forward to future conferences.” – Karan, Undergraduate Research Assistant

We are very well-pleased with Karan and Jess, and we are always proud of our youth leaders and team and our successes together!

Other 4YBY presentations that were presented at this year’s 2021 CUGH conference include:

  • Abstract #858: Walking a mile in young people’s shoes: A designathon to promote uptake of youth-friendly health services for Nigerian youth
  • Abstract #865: The 4 Youth by Youth Project: Pilot findings from a feasibility trial of youth-designed HIV self-testing and STI services
  • Abstract #948: ‘I am a Stakeholder who counts’- Youth-led strategies for Linkage to Prevention and Care post HIV Self-testing

Previously accepted 4YBY CUGH abstracts (Year/Presentation style):

  1. Using the PEN-3 Model to Assess HIV Self-Testing among Youth in Nigeria (2020/Poster)
  2. Assessing young people’s HIV self-testing knowledge and their perception of its service delivery – Evidence from health designathon (2020/Poster)
  3. Developing HIV self-testing services through youth engagement: A Qualitative Evaluation of a Health designathon in Nigeria (2020/Oral)
  4. An Innovation bootcamp model for developing HIV self-testing social enterprise among young people in Nigeria (2020/Oral)


  1.  CUGH 2021: Virtual Conference: Addressing Critical Gaps in Global Health and Development. Consortium of Universities for Global Health. (2021). Retrieved 19 February 2021, from

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