Human Service Studies faculty, alum publish in AIDS Care
Associate professor Cindy Fair and assistant professor Kristen Sullivan in the Department of Human Service Studies, along with Amy Gatto '09, have published an article in AIDS Care titled "Indicators of transition success for youth living with HIV: perspectives of pediatric and adult infectious disease care providers."
Gatto recently completed two years with Teach For America in Mississippi. She plans to attend graduate school in public health and helped to interview providers for this study as part of her research for the Elon College Fellows program.
The article abstract:
"Rates of HIV infection among adolescents in the U.S. 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 successful transitions. Behavioral indicators identified were keeping appointments, medication adherence, and demonstrating ownership of medical care. Providers also identified serological markers of a successful 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."