About the Adolescent Initiative

At the heart of all Adolescent Initiative services is a commitment to outreach. All of our programs are designed to reach adolescents and young adults ages 12 through 24, in their own communities.

Primary medical services and HIV specialty care

Since 1993, the Adolescent Initiative at Children’s Hospital has been a leader in the evaluation, prevention and care of adolescents living with HIV and prevention to high-risk youth. The clinic provides comprehensive, interdisciplinary primary and HIV specialty care.

A team of physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, peers and mental-health professionals creates a seamless continuum of service. The clinic is nationally recognized as a center for research and treatment and recently participated in two major national research initiatives for adolescents: the Adolescent Trials Network and the Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group.

Case management and psychosocial support

Adolescent HIV care and services require adolescent-focused, intensive case-management interventions. The number of young people being diagnosed with HIV is growing. These youth present with multiple psychosocial problems such as basic subsistence issues, disclosure, housing, stigma, mental-health issues and lack of social support.

The goal for this component of the program is to immediately link youth to care and provide services to help youth become more knowledgeable, self-sufficient and competent in managing their HIV.

Mental health services

In addition to on-going individual counseling for youth affected by HIV, our services have included new patient mental health screenings, cognitive screenings, depression screenings and intensive psychiatry assessments and follow-up. We also look at the impact mental health on medication adherence.

Research trials

The only way we will better understand and develop effective treatments for adolescents infected with HIV is through access to adolescent-specific research. Maintaining the seamless integration of care and access to research is essential.

Learn more about our involvement in research trials >

Specialized prevention services

The Adolescent Initiative has achieved considerable success in outreach and linking youth to care. Much of our success is attributable to our philosophy, which aims to tailor an outreach/linkage response to the individual situation. Our goal is to provide adolescents with the opportunity to meet with a Children’s Hospital case manager immediately following a positive test result.

We also work collaboratively with community-based counseling and testing sites that are providing services to adolescents and young adults. Through these collaborations, we have established a model of care for high-risk and HIV-positive youth, providing an immediate link to adolescent-specific medical care.

Specialized prevention service for delinquent youth

This program provides adolescent-focused intensive prevention to youth identified as HIV positive or who are at very high risk for HIV. Youth who are HIV positive are guaranteed access to state-of-the-art, adolescent-focused HIV specialty care. Those who are HIV-negative, are offered adolescent-focused sexual health care in the Adolescent Care Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.