National age-of-consent laws and adolescent HIV testing in sub-Saharan Africa: a propensity-score matched study
Age-of-consent laws can be a barrier to adolescents accessing relevant HIV/AIDS services. This study provides new evidence that a lower legal age of consent could address this barrier, especially in countries with more restrictive legislation, and increase HIV testing and counselling uptake. HIV testing and counselling uptake among adolescents, in turn, has been associated with lower incidence of HIV infection over time. If, as the findings of this study suggest, lower age-of-consent laws can be an upstream facilitator for improving access to HIV testing and counselling, such laws may also potentially indirectly act to reduce HIV incidence rates.