How does our support for clinical trials reduce new HIV infections and improve care for young people?
Supporting the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network (ATN) for HIV/AIDS Interventions
About 1/3 of people in the U.S. who are newly infected with HIV are ages 13 to 29, and 62% of them are African American and Hispanic. Between 60% to 80% of young people don’t know they are HIV positive.
The only national, multicenter research network devoted to the health and well-being of this population is the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network (ATN) for HIV/AIDS Interventions. The network includes 14 university-based clinics, which do innovative research on promising approaches for protecting children and young adults. The ATN is funded in part by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
Westat served as the ATN’s Data Coordinating Center from 2001 to 2016.
Through the data and operations center, we
- Helped researchers design studies, monitor data, analyze data, present study results to the public and other researchers, and prepare manuscripts for publication
- Developed and maintained Oracle databases for data entry, editing, storage, and retrieval
- Maintained a web site for ATN members and stakeholders
- Monitored the study sites, ensuring that researchers met all regulatory requirements
- Provided study site staff training on how to conduct studies following a standardized research protocol
The results of ATN studies have guided the nation’s scientific agenda, helped lower the risk of adolescents and young adults becoming infected with HIV, helped newly diagnosed young adults get care, and improved the treatment of HIV-positive adolescents and young adults.
The studies have shown, for example, that
- Creating a network of women friends is a feasible and acceptable way to increase the number of young women getting HIV tests.
- While the top barriers that adolescents and young adults who become HIV infected perinatally (from birth) or from their behavior face to taking their antiretroviral medication are similar, perinatally infected youth reported significantly more barriers. Interventions to improve adherence should not only address forgetfulness and choosing not to take medications but also address how people become infected.
- HIV-infected young women receiving their first human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine were often infected with more than one type of HPV, which demonstrates the importance of vaccinating prior to sexual initiation.