The promise of outreach for engaging and retaining out-of-care persons in HIV medical care.

The Fenway Institute of Fenway Community Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
AIDS PATIENT CARE and STDs (Impact Factor: 3.58). 02/2007; 21 Suppl 1:S85-91. DOI: 10.1089/apc.2007.9983
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT From the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, outreach workers have been on the frontlines of HIV prevention, working in community venues to increase knowledge and promote behaviors to reduce HIV transmission. As demographics of the HIV-infected population have changed, the need has grown to locate out-of-care individuals and learn how to engage and retain them in HIV care. Through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) Outreach Initiative, 10 sites across the United States implemented and evaluated enhanced outreach models designed to increase engagement and retention in HIV care for underserved, disadvantaged HIV-infected individuals. Although the models differed in response to local needs and organizational characteristics, all made use of a common conceptual framework, and all used the same data collection and reporting protocols. Study teams enrolled and provided behavioral interventions to HIV-infected individuals who have been noticeably absent from research and from practice. Their interventions incorporated coaching, skills-building, and education, and were successful in reducing or removing structural, financial, and personal/cultural barriers that interfered with equitable access to HIV care. Desired outcomes of increased engagement and retention in HIV health care were achieved. Results demonstrate that interventions to promote equitable access to HIV care for disadvantaged population groups can be built from outreach models. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the multisite data indicates that further development and evaluation of outreach-based interventions will result in effective tools for reaching HIV-infected individuals who would otherwise remain without needed care.

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    ABSTRACT: Background We surveyed HIV patients with late-stage disease in southern Vietnam to determine if barriers to access and service quality resulted in late HIV testing and delays from initial diagnosis to entry into HIV care. Methodology 196 adult patients at public HIV clinics with CD4 counts less than 250 cells/mm3 completed a standardized questionnaire. We used multivariate analysis to determine risk factors for delayed entry into care, defined as >3 months time from diagnosis to registration. Results Common reasons for delayed testing were feeling healthy (71%), fear of stigma and discrimination in the community (43%), time conflicts with work or school (31%), did not want to know if infected (30%), and fear of lack of confidentiality (27%). Forty-five percent of participants delayed entry into care with a median CD4 count of 65 cells/mm3. The most common reasons for delayed entry were feeling healthy (51%), fear of stigma and discrimination in the community (41%), time conflicts with work or school (33%), and fear of lack of confidentiality (26%). Independent predictors for delayed entry were feeling healthy (aOR 3.7, 95% CI 1.5–9.1), first positive HIV test at other site (aOR 2.9, CI 1.2–7.1), history of injection drug use (IDU) (aOR 2.9, 95% CI 1.1–7.9), work/school conflicts (aOR 4.3, 95% CI 1.7–10.8), prior registration at another clinic (aOR 77.4, 95% CI 8.6–697), detention or imprisonment (aOR 10.3, 95% CI 1.8–58.2), and perceived distance to clinic (aOR 3.7, 95% CI 1.0–13.7). Conclusion Delayed entry into HIV care in Vietnam is common and poses a significant challenge to preventing AIDS and opportunistic infections, decreasing mortality, and reducing HIV transmission. Improved linkages between testing and care are needed, particularly for patients who feel healthy, as well as incarcerated and drug-using populations who may face structural and social barriers to accessing care.
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