NEW: Transitioning HIV-Infected Adolescents into Adult Care

Published: June 1, 2011

As HIV-infected adolescents grow into adulthood, it becomes necessary for them to transfer to adult care settings and take responsibility for their own health and disease management. Transition in this setting can be defined as “a multifaceted, active process that attends to the medical, psychosocial, and academic or vocational needs of adolescents as they move from the child- to the adult-focused healthcare system. Health care transition should also facilitate transition in other areas of life as well (e.g., work, community, and school).”1
Adolescents and young adults are an increasing proportion of the HIV-infected population. In 2008, 17.6% of new HIV cases in New York State were in the 13- to 24-year-old age group. In addition, more perinatally infected patients have entered this age group. The HIV-infected adolescent population comprises a mixed group of 1) perinatally infected adolescents who are now surviving into adulthood, and 2) behaviorally infected adolescents, most of whom were infected sexually. Despite sharing some common characteristics, these two populations are quite distinct with respect to their needs and challenges.
The American Academy of Pediatrics defines adolescence as 13 to 21 years of age. The recommendations in this chapter pertain to both adolescents and young adults because many pediatric and adolescent clinicians follow HIV-infected patients from 13 to 24 years of age. For guidelines that focus on the comprehensive care of HIV-infected adolescents, refer to Ambulatory Care of HIV-Infected Adolescents.
These guidelines have been developed to assist providers with the transition process to ensure that HIV-infected young adults are successfully and seamlessly integrated into an adult care setting. Recommendations are meant to serve as a guide and will need to be tailored to the individual patient

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