Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Health

First Advisor's Name

Consuelo Beck-Sagué

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Elena Bastida

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee co-chair

Third Advisor's Name

Virginia H. McCoy

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Mary-Jo Trepka

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

Ana Garcia

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


Perinatally HIV-infected, transition to adult care, health services, young adults, mortality, outcomes assessment, program effectiveness.

Date of Defense



Transitioned perinatally HIV-infected patients may be at increased risk for poor outcomes, yet the impact of transition and of transition programs on health are not well understood. This research examined: (1) post-transition mortality, (2) engagement in adult HIV care, (3) transition experiences, and clinical and sociodemographic influences, including transition program exposure. Data were collected from patients who had transitioned from a Florida pediatric clinic to adult HIV care between January 2003 and September 2012. Post-transition mortality and care engagement were assessed in a retrospective analysis of medical record data. Fisher exact and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used for significance testing. Risk ratios (RRs) were calculated to assess strength of associations. Stratified analysis controlled for confounding. Transition experiences were examined in a mixed-methods study, with qualitative data from a computer-assisted survey subjected to thematic analysis. Of 51 transitioned patients, nine (18%) had died by May 2014, five (56%) in the first post-transition year. Of 42 survivors, 33 were eligible; 27 (82%) provided consent. Post-transition mortality was high, particularly in those severely immunosuppressed (CD4 count <100/mm3; RR =6.0, 95% CI =1.88-19.19 [P=.005]) at transition. When controlled for CD4 count, employment was associated with decreased (adjusted RR= 0.19; 95% CI=0.04-0.88 [P=.02]), and high school non-completion with increased (adjusted RR= 3.0; 95% CI=1.37-6.40 [P=.07]) mortality risk. The number of kept HIV appointments decreased from last pre-transition (Median = 5, IQR 4-6) to first post-transition (Median = 2, IQR 1-10; P=.002) year; the proportion of poorly engaged increased from 3% to 35% (P=.006), with no significant changes between first and second post-transition years. Non-Hispanic black and low-income participants were less likely to be regularly engaged in adult HIV care one year post-transition. Transition program exposure did not significantly affect mortality or care engagement. Most of 27 received transition services, but 59% had trouble doing well in adult care. Needs for patient-centered care, with caring, personal patient-provider relationships and accessible HIV care, characterized post-transition experiences. This research suggested that transitioned perinatally HIV-infected young adults are at risk for poor health outcomes. Systematic programs using a socio-ecological framework to include multi-level interventions and post-transition support may improve outcomes.





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