The ATN is the only national, multicenter research network devoted to the health and well-being of HIV-infected and at-risk adolescents and young adults. The Network was started by the
Maternal and Pediatric Infectious Disease Branch (MPIDB) (formerly the Pediatric, Adolescent, and Maternal AIDS [PAMA] Branch) in 2001 through a cooperative agreement mechanism with co-funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Mental Health. The Branch created the ATN after the Adolescent Medicine HIV/AIDS Research Network external scientific advisory panel stated that interventional studies in adolescents were needed. The first and second funding cycles ended in February 2006 and 2011, respectively; the ATN was re-competed in 2010 and was funded in 2011 for a third five-year period. The ATN has extensive experience in recruiting and retaining understudied youth populations in the United States. Over the past 10 years (2003-2013), they have had over 26,000 enrollments among 88 ATN studies, with enrollment and retention rates among completed studies over 90%. Among 32 studies with completed analyses, there have been 134 manuscripts published with 18 more in review, and 112 abstracts presented, with 8 more in review. Additionally, the ATN has successfully forged collaborations with the CDC, HRSA, ACTG, HVTN, IMPAACT and MTN, as evidenced by 12 co-endorsed collaborating protocols.
The primary mission of the ATN is to conduct both independent and collaborative research that explores promising behavioral, microbicidal, prophylactic, therapeutic, and vaccine modalities in HIV-infected and at-risk adolescents, ages 12 years through 24 years. ATN activities encompass the full spectrum of research needs for youth, from primary prevention—including HIV preventive vaccine, microbicide, and pre-exposure prophylaxis trials—for HIV at-risk youth in the community to secondary and tertiary prevention with clinical management of HIV infection among youth along the entire HIV care continuum. Secondary and tertiary prevention research investigates novel treatment strategies and regimens, drug adherence, risk reduction interventions, and linkage and engagement to care strategies that can lead to optimal antiretroviral therapy initiation and virologic suppression outcomes.
The overall research agenda of the ATN includes three broad areas:
There are currently 14 NICHD-funded clinical research sites within the ATN where interested youth can join clinical protocols:
The NICHD funds the ATN Coordinating Center, which is responsible for creating the ATN's scientific agenda, and the ATN Data and Operations Center, which is responsible for managing the data and operational aspects of the research conducted in the network: