This paper will examine the effectiveness of outreach and coordinated care programs in engaging and retaining people living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) in medical care. Barriers to care will be examined to understand the mechanisms that delay treatment for PHAs.
Engagement in care for hard-to-reach populations is often described as cyclical. Many people may enter the care system at some point but are sporadic users of care, often missing appointments or dropping out of care for periods of time. The challenge that outreach programs face is not only to engage hard-to-reach populations in health care but also to retain them once they have accessed service.
Repeat contact with health providers, case managers, patient navigators, and outreach workers for appointment reminders or rescheduling, service coordination, relationship building, and for provision of specific services such as food, transportation, and counseling increased PHAs’ access and retention in medical care.
Health care providers who focused on engaging newly diagnosed PHAs in medical care by offering HIV education and support, addressing stigma, and helping with access to resources to address financial and structural barriers, increased their retention in care.