This week, the “Transitioning from Pediatric to Adult HIV Care in Kenya (ATTACH)” study team held a workshop in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss strategies to improve transition of adolescents into adult HIV care. Dr. Kristin Beima-Sofie, Global WACh co-investigator for ATTACH, traveled to Kenya with UW student researchers, Dr. Irene Njuguna (Infectious Disease Researcher from Kenyatta National Hospital in Kenya; current Epidemiology PhD student) and Danae Black (Epidemiology PhD Student). Participants also included members from Kenya National AIDS and STD Control Programme (NASCOP), a unit established in 1987 to lead the Kenya Ministry of Health’s interventions in the fight against HIV and AIDS. The multi-day workshop provided a forum for thoughtful, energizing conversations on ways to collaborate on this important issue.
As more HIV-infected children and adolescents survive into adulthood, maintaining successful and uninterrupted transitions into adult HIV care clinics have become a priority in the HIV/AIDS research community. Adolescents having “grown up” under pediatric HIV care may experience deep loss of their support system and feel less prepared to assume responsibility for themselves in adult care. The transition is a vulnerable point when adolescents are at risk of disengagement from HIV care altogether. It is critical they maintain uninterrupted HIV care to stay healthy, maintain low viral load, and reduce further transmission.
ATTACH aims to evaluate co-factors of effective transitions and adapt, implement, and test two interventions to enhance successful transitions between care clinics. Dr. Grace John-Stewart serves as the Principal Investigator, and collaborates with co-principal investigator, Dr. Dalton Walmalwa of Kenyatta National Hospital in Kenya. ATTACH is currently in its second year and is anticipated to end in 2021.