JOURNAL ARTICLE
MULTICENTER STUDY

Indicators of transition success for youth living with HIV: perspectives of pediatric and adult infectious disease care providers

Cynthia D Fair, Kristen Sullivan, Amy Gatto
AIDS Care 2011, 23 (8): 965-70
21390882
Rates of HIV infection among adolescents in the US continues to rise, resulting in more individuals who must eventually transition from pediatric to adult care. It is critical that this process go smoothly to ensure continuity of care and to maximize patient outcomes. While research has examined youths' experiences with the transition process, disease-specific indicators of successful transition from pediatric to adult care remain undefined. Identifying indicators will facilitate the evaluation of transition processes, and, ultimately, the empirical determination of best practices. Interviews were conducted with 19 professionals who provide care for children and adults with HIV in southeastern state in the US. Approximately half of the providers self-identified as pediatric care providers. Nine of those interviewed were nurses and physicians and 10 were social workers. Providers had been working in the field of HIV for an average of 11.2 years. Interviews were taped, transcribed, and coded for emergent themes. Providers who care for HIV-infected youth identified both behavior and seriologic indicators of succesful transitions. Behavioral indicators identified were keeping appointments, medication adherence, and demonstrating ownership of medical care. Providers also identified serological markers of a succesful transition, specifically,viral load and CD4 count. Findings provided valuable insight into the perspectives of infectious disease care providers on indicators of successful transition from pediatric to adult care for adolescents with HIV. This is an important first step in developing empirical evaluation measures for transition practices and models. Similar research should be conducted with other groups of providers to assess the generalizability of these findings. Additionally, future research should seek to operationalize the identified behavioral indicators and determine appropriate values to indicate success for all indicators.

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