Best practices in transitioning youth with HIV: perspectives of pediatric and adult infectious disease care providers

Psychol Health Med. 2010 Oct;15(5):515-27. doi: 10.1080/13548506.2010.493944.


Recently, national attention has been drawn to the increasing number of adolescents infected with HIV in the US, particularly in the South. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2007), at least 50% of new HIV infections occur in persons 15-25 years of age, and the majority of these persons are likely infected in their teens. Adolescents with HIV present new challenges to health and social-service providers. Infected teens are typically identified and initially followed by pediatricians and pediatric staff upon diagnosis. The transition to adult infectious disease care can be difficult due to the increased responsibility for self-care and monitoring placed on the young adult. Interviews were conducted with 19 professionals who provide care for children and adults with HIV in North Carolina in order to identify the best practices for transition to adult care. Approximately half of the providers self-identified as pediatric care providers. Nine of those interviewed were nurses and physicians and 10 were social workers. Interviews were transcribed and emergent themes were identified. Findings indicate that promoting medical independence among adolescents, close communication between pediatric and adult providers, and addressing system level concerns, including helping patients' families navigate health insurance and other social services, as well as having a separate clinic for adolescents with HIV, constitute best practices for transitioning youth with HIV from pediatric to adult care.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration*
  • Evidence-Based Practice*
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity*
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Medicine*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • North Carolina
  • Primary Health Care
  • Young Adult