Purpose: To describe and analyze the process of transitioning HIV-infected youths from the point of HIV diagnosis into HIV treatment. Rather than simply offering HIV positive youths a list of referrals, the youth-focused SPNS grantees (AWAC) found it vital that youthS were immediately assisted with linkage to a medical provider. Methods: From February 1997 to December 2000, 107 identified HIV-infected youths from the five adolescent SPNS projects were surveyed on needs and barriers. The time interval between HIV testing and youth linkage to care was also noted. Results: Nine percent of youth reported perceived barriers to accessing health care. Perceived needs were identified as Mental Health (44.9%; n = 48); Alcohol and drug treatment (14%; n = 15); transportation to health care settings (40.2%; n = 43); and housing (46.7%; N = 50). At sites tracking linkage to care, the time of being transitioned into a medical setting ranged from 5 to 55 days (average 26 days). Conclusions: The period of transitioning identified HIV-infected youths into care can be reduced from 1-5 years to as short as 5-55 days. Success with linking these youth to care involves establishing a series of contacts at outreach sites wherein program staff seeks to build trusting relationships with youths, is able to track these youths and identify and address perceived needs.
- Barriers to care
- Transitioning into care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health