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March 6, 2012

CHOP Expert Authors New International Guidelines to Help Adolescents Undergoing HIV/AIDS Therapies

Contact: Dana Mortensen, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 267-426-6092 or mortensen@email.chop.edu

The International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (IAPAC) today announced the publication of a new set of evidence-based guidelines meant to optimize entry into and retention in HIV care and adherence to HIV treatment. The “Guidelines for Improving Entry into and Retention in Care and Antiretroviral Adherence for Persons with HIV” were developed by an expert IAPAC Panel and e-published today by the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The guidelines include recommendations in several key areas, including:

The needs of special populations, including children and adolescents, are also addressed in the guidelines, as are recommendations for future research in these areas.

Unique barriers for adolescents who need HIV/AIDS therapies

Young patients with HIV/AIDS often face compounded psychological, social, economic, and medical challenges that may create barriers to their ability to thrive in adulthood. Adolescents with HIV have higher rates of cognitive impairment and mental health problems like anxiety, depression, ADHD and PTSD. In addition, taking medications consistently can be very challenging for these patients for a variety of reasons. Among these are simply forgetting, fears of disclosing their disease status, an inconsistent daily routine, negative drug side-effects, and not taking medication when one is feeling well for a period of time. 

About the lead author

Nadia Dowshen, MD, director of Adolescent HIV Services, Craig Dalsimer Division of Adolescent Medicine, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, was the lead author on recommendations pertaining to adolescents and has helped to develop and implement promising adherence interventions (including using interactive text messaging) and comprehensive care for this vulnerable population, through the CHOP Adolescent Initiative program which provides care to more than 150 youth living with HIV/AIDS. 

About IAPAC

The International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care (IAPAC) is a non-profit medical association representing more than 17,000 clinician-members in over 100 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of care, treatment, and support provided to people living with HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, malaria, and tuberculosis through education, research, global health, and advocacy activities advanced by its clinician-members. Visit the IAPAC website to learn more.  

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