Research Project: The engagement of HIV-infected youth with health care services

Postdoc Year(s): 2012-2013

Dr. Michael Clark is Paediatric Infectious Diseases specialist from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. His CTN fellowship project focused on the transition from paediatric to adult care for youth with perinatally acquired HIV infection. 

“Although childhood death from AIDS has been markedly reduced in the current era of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), barriers and challenges exist to transitioning HIV-infected adolescents to internal medicine-based care.” Dr. Clark identifies several of these barriers, such as mental health, sexual and reproductive health, socio-economic status, and stigma. Issues such as these impact adherence to HIV treatment, engagement with health care providers, and the patient’s overall health.

Research indicates that the probability of non-adherence with cART increases with age in adolescents; one study indicated that only 50% of interviewed adolescents followed full adherence with their treatment.

Moreover, while research on the transition of teenagers to adult HIV care has been done in the U.S., it cannot be applied well in the Canadian context. Dr. Clark hopes that his project will generate new knowledge to inform an enhanced model of care for adolescents and young adults living with HIV in Canada.

Dr. Clark received his MD from the University of Ottawa, and followed up with a residency in Paediatrics. He currently works at the Infectious Diseases Division of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Dr. Clark speaks 3 languages: English, French, and Spanish.