Identifying effective models of outreach to underserved people living with HIV (PLWH) who are not receiving care is a critical concern in responding to the changing HIV epidemic. While HIV treatment advances have slowed death rates and HIV transmission, there are vulnerable and marginalized groups who are not benefiting from these advances as much as other populations. Creative and intensive outreach efforts can assure timely and continued treatment for people facing persistent barriers to access of care, and new, innovative outreach strategies are being developed to engage and retain underserved PLWH in care. These include street outreach, mobile vans, community outreach workers, peer educators, promoters, and patient navigators.
The Outreach Initiative was a two-phase, five-year program supporting multi-year demonstration projects to implement, refine, and evaluate innovative outreach strategies for bringing PLWH into HIV primary care. In September 2001, 17 individual projects were funded for Phase 1 (project years 1-2). During this phase, the projects implemented their outreach and intervention programs, conducted a local evaluation of those strategies, and planned activities to enhance or modify their programs for Phase 2 (project years 3-5). Grant recipient planning activities included refining intervention models based on the findings of their local evaluation, adjusting their local evaluation plans as needed, and participating in a multi-site evaluation.
The Boston University School of Public Health served as the CORE Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center for the initiative. Demonstration project grant recipients included Access Community Health Project (Chicago, IL); Health Services Center (Anniston, AL); Blacks Assisting Blacks Against AIDS (St. Louis, MO); Care Resource (Coral Gables, FL); Charles R. Drew University School of Medicine and Science (Los Angeles, CA); Fenway Community Health (Boston, MA); Harm Reduction Services (Sacramento, CA); The Miriam Hospital (Providence, RI); Montefiore Medical Center (Bronx, NY); Multnomah County Health Department (Portland, OR) University of California, Los Angeles Schools of Medicine & Public Health (Los Angeles, CA); University of Miami School of Medicine (Miami, FL); University of Texas Health Sciences Center (San Antonio, TX); University of Washington, Department of Psychiatry (Seattle, WA); Wayne State University (Detroit, MI); Well Being Institute (Detroit, MI); and Whitman-Walker Clinic (Washington, DC).