The SMILE Linkage to Care (LTC) Program is designed to provide linkage to medical care and psychosocial support for youth who are newly diagnosed, having difficulties staying engaged in care, or new to the Boston area. This project is for Boston youth ages 12-24. The SMILE program establishes referral relationships with collaborating agencies to identify HIV infected youth and connect these individuals with a Youth Linkage to Care (YLTC) Coordinator. The SMILE YLTC Coordinator works with the support of the youth’s medical team to implement care plans. The SMILE YLTC Coordinator provides direct case management services and/or other activities that directly facilitate LTC-related activities for youth.
While the main focus of the SMILE LTC is the program itself, it also has a research component within it. Located at the Sidney Borum Jr. Health Center in Boston, SMILE serves as one of the thirteen multi-site research projects locations developed by the Adolescent Medicine Trials Network for HIV/AIDS Interventions (ATN). Housed in The Fenway Institute at Fenway Health, ATN 116 (Adolescent Medicine Trials Network) study seeks to utilize the existing Connect to Protect® (C2P) coalition infrastructure to address structural barriers that hinder the ability of HIV-infected youth to link to care and remain engaged-in-care.
Strategic Multisite Initiative for the Identification, Linkage and Engagement in Care of Youth with Undiagnosed HIV Infection (SMILE in Caring for Youth) is a linkage to care program that strives to:
- Improve identification of adolescents and young adults in Boston with HIV-infection.
- Facilitate a practical and meaningful linkage to care for HIV-infected youth.
- Ensure engagement and maintenance of care for HIV-infected youth.