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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3286.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - Table 2

Abstract #110203

Surmounting barriers to engaging and staying in medical care for HIV: Can community outreach workers help?

Maureen H. Rumptz, PhD, Program Design and Evaluation Services, Multnomah County Health Department, 800 NE Oregon Street, Suite 550, Portland, OR 97232, 503-731-4291, x574, maureen.h.rumptz@state.or.us and Alison Frye, MPH, Cascade AIDS Project, 620 SW Fifth Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97204.

Multnomah County, Oregon continues to struggle with how to make HIV medical care accessible, available, and appropriate for PLWH who are not receiving it. Of particular concern in Oregon are subpopulations of PLWH (e.g., Latinos, persons who are addicted to drugs) who are disproportionately affected by the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic and also face extraordinary barriers to engaging and staying in care.

In response, the health department and a community-based HIV organization received funding from HRSA to develop the CareLink program. The goals of CareLink are to identify PLWH who are not receiving medical care, link them to medical care, and provide them support to remain in care. Peer outreach workers identify out-of-care PLWH through street or community-level outreach and work with them to develop trust, assess health/readiness to engage in care, identify access barriers and client priorities, and provide health education (including health literacy) and skill building around accessing services.

In this session, we will describe CareLink, discuss primary lessons learned from implementation, and share preliminary findings from the pre-post study with 105 CareLink clients. Preliminary baseline findings indicate that community outreach workers were able to identify traditionally underserved PLWH and further analyses will assess 6-month outcomes including HIV knowledge, health literacy, self-efficacy, barriers, enrollment in medical care, quality of life, and viral load/CD4 count.

The results of this study will have important bearing on understanding whether community outreach workers can identify and help traditionally underserved and hard-to-reach PLWH to engage in medical care.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

HIV/AIDS: Innovative Approaches to Outreach and Partnership

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA