Our History

The Beginning:  2001

The ATN was established in 2001 and has since developed and conducted behavioral, community-based, translational, therapeutic, microbicide, and vaccine trials among people ages 12-24. The ATN has completed four funding cycles.


During this period, the ATN enrolled more than 26,000 adolescents and young adults across 88 therapeutic, behavioral, and community ATN studies, with overall participant retention rates greater than 90%.  ATN successfully forged collaborations with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); AIDS Clinical Trial Group (ACTG); HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN); International Maternal, Pediatric, Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials (IMPAACT) Network; and Microbicide Trials Network (MTN), as evidenced by 12 co-endorsed collaborating protocols.

A unique ATN research initiative was Connect to Protect® (C2P), which sought to mobilize communities around the country to examine the root causes of HIV among young people (13-24 years old) and develop long-term solutions to prevent the spread of HIV.  Its purpose was to link local researchers and community members around the growing crisis of HIV/AIDS among youth.  The mobilization effort brought together diverse sectors of the community to form a coalition and local strategic plans focused on reducing HIV risk by making structural changes.   These structural changes included changes in programs, laws, policies and practices on the community, city, and state level (i.e., condoms in schools; HIV testing in prisons). The results from ATN 113 contributed to the FDA’s decision to approve an effective oral HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) medication, Truvada, for adolescents at risk for HIV infection. FDA approval allowed adolescent minors who may be at risk of HIV to access an effective biomedical prevention medication for the first time.  The addition of oral PrEP to the HIV prevention toolbox for adolescents was made possible through vital research spearheaded by the ATN and is a landmark achievement.


During these years, ATN restructured into three large research programs:

  • CARES was a comprehensive, community-based project focused on optimizing the HIV prevention and treatment continuum for youth.
  • The Center for Innovative Technology (iTech) aimed to impact the HIV epidemic by conducting interdisciplinary research on technology-based interventions across the HIV prevention and care continuum among adolescents and young adults.
  • Scale It Up was a research program aimed at the development and assessment of effectiveness of theoretically and developmentally sound interventions focused on improving self-management among youth across the HIV prevention and care continuum.

Each research program implemented multiple research studies, and several research studies spanned the entire ATN network. Since 2016, there have been over 4,000 enrollments across 21 ATN studies with excellent retention rates. There have been over 80 manuscripts published and 50+ abstracts presented. Several collaborations were forged with the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) and IMPAACT.


The current iteration of ATN launched in 2022, with five research priority areas and funded seven initial research protocols. Learn more about our current research here.