The Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN) is the first and only national clinical research network that studies HIV-infected adolescents and adolescents at risk for HIV infection. The Maternal and Pediatric Infectious Disease Branch (formerly the Pediatric, Adolescent, Maternal AIDS Branch) of the NIH established the network. The ATN’s mission is to conduct innovative and collaborative research within populations of adolescents and young adults ages 12-24 who are at risk for HIV and who are already infected with HIV, with an emphasis on minors.
ATN studies emphasize testing interventions that can change behaviors; meaning, the reduction of risk factors that could lead to adolescents acquiring HIV and instilling behaviors that prevent HIV-infected adolescents from becoming sicker or infecting others. This focus on youth helps create prevention and intervention methods that uniquely address the risk factors and specific needs of that population, such as challenges with health insurance, keeping adolescents in care, minor consent, and medication adherence, to name a few.
Past study examples include:
- The Connect-to-Protect program, which used community outreach to measurably improve health outcomes for youth at risk for HIV.
- SMILE, the Strategic Multisite Initiative for the Identification, Linkage and Engagement in Care of Youth with Diagnosed HIV Infection, with the goal of using clinical trial site partnerships for the first time to improve the identification of undiagnosed HIV in youth.
- The ATN 110 project, which was conducted in response to the need for more available safety and behavioral data about youth, in this case, men between the ages of 18-22, to understand indications for their use of PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis medication. (PrEP is a daily oral medication that reduces the chance of being infected by HIV, when take consistently.) The study sought to engage young, HIV negative men who have sex with men with the use of PrEP. The outcomes of the participant’s use of PrEP, if it was tolerated well by participants, and adherence to taking the medication were all reported as part of the study.
- A lack of PrEP data about adolescent men who have sex with men also created the need for the ATN 113 study, which was the first of its kind to study adolescents and PrEP. Similar to ATN 110 but focusing on a younger age group, this study involved men who have sex with men between the ages of 15-17 who were at high risk for contracting HIV but who were HIV negative. The study reported on participant’s use of PrEP, their responses, the level of adherence, and acceptability of PrEP, concluding that adolescents need access to PrEP as it was tolerated with only minimal safety issues. This study's conclusions were partly the reason that the FDA approved PrEP for use by adolescents in May 2018.
Collaboration is also a part of the history of the ATN. The ATN has worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG), the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN), the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trial Network (IMPAACT), and the Microbicide Trials Network (MTN).
Learn more about the current state of the ATN, including the funders of the network, in our About Us page.