Enhancing Access to Quality HIV Care for Women of Color

Dates: 2007-2008

Geographic Scope: Nationwide

Client(s): HRSA - HAB

Technical Expertise: HIV & Infectious Diseases, Family Planning & Reproductive Health

Women of color (WOC) living with HIV represent the intersection of two underserved populations and as a result, they are at an increased risk of not benefiting from recent advances in HIV care and treatment. This population also has disparities in care offered and received. In 2005, Black and Hispanic women accounted for 81% of the women living with HIV.

There is a gap in understanding the effective strategies, models, and approaches for engaging and retaining women of color in quality HIV care. The Health Resources and Services Administration contracted with JSI to identify effective programs and describe their qualities. JSI's approach was three-fold: literature review, key informant interviews, and a 2-day consultation meeting with key community-based providers and federal partners.

The results of these efforts identified several common approaches thought to be effective in linking WOC living with HIV and retaining them in quality HIV care. The core themes included: 1) development of a woman-responsive care environment which incorporates respect, cultural competency, and flexibility to meet women's needs regardless of her stage of engagement in care; 2) incorporation of peers into the care system as trained and paid members of the care team; 3) addressing women's needs through care coordination, flexibility, health system navigation, and better coordination between medical and social support providers.
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