Although numbers of children living with HIV in Australia are small there are anecdotal reports that adolescents transitioning to adult HIV care can face many hurdles and often have difficulties adhering to treatments. Once an HIV positive adolescent turns 18 they are no longer able to access many of the supports they had as children and may not easily fit into the support provided around HIV positive adults.
As there is little data about outcomes for children transitioning to adult HIV care, Dutch researchers designed a study which looked at 59 people who entered HIV care as children and then transitioned into adult care. The investigators collected data on factors associated with adverse outcomes after transition.
The study reported in Clinical Infectious Diseases reported that young adults and teenagers transitioning into adult care show high rates of “virological breakthrough” from non adherence to treatments. The risk of virological failure increased fourfold at the time of transition to adult care (18 – 19 years old). 14% were completely lost to follow up at this age.
The authors conclude that supporting this group become autonomous regarding HIV treatment adherence should begin early on in paediatric care. They also noted that issues such as employment and education were indicators of successful adherence during transition and recommended support around these issues when necessary.
A short report about this study can be accessed on AIDSMap