Retention, adherence, and compliance: Special needs of HIV-infected adolescent girls and young women

Sally Dodds, T. Blakley, J. M. Lizzotte, Lawrence B. Friedman, Kimberly Shaw, Jaime Martinez, Carl Siciliano, Lynn E. Walker, Jo L. Sotheran, Randall L. Sell, Geri Botwinick, Robert L. Johnson, Douglas Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Purpose: To demonstrate that whereas all HIV-infected youth evidence complex factors that challenge retention in care and adherence to treatment, HIV-infected females have additional issues that are gender-specific. Methods: Preliminary data from a subset of 21 adolescent/young women under age 25 from the Whole Life mental health-perinatal HIV care project were analyzed to illustrate the needs of these patients. Results: Of the 21 young women assessed, all but one was of minority background, and a sizeable majority had limited education (<high school diploma) and were quite poor (incomes <$500/mo.). Nearly 67% first learned of their HIV status between ages 16 and 19 years. More than three-fourths were pregnant and, of these, more than one-third entered prenatal care in the last trimester. More than half had responsibility for one to two other children. Two-thirds reported having unprotected sex in the prior 6 months. Nearly 43% had CD4 counts of 500 or below. About one-third screened positive for a mental health problem, and the majority reported a striking frequency of exposure to abusive events and traumatic losses across their short lifetimes. Conclusions: Adolescent girls and young women have unique needs for developmentally appropriate medical and psychosocial approaches to promote retention and adherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-45
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number2 SUPPL. 2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003


  • HIV adolescent females
  • HIV adolescents
  • HIV retention
  • HIV youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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