SMAIF-Funded HRSA Grant Opportunity Will Expand Use of Community Health Workers to Improve Access to HIV Care

Content From: Timothy Harrison, PhD, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesPublished: June 29, 20161 min read


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Community health workers (CHWs) can play a key role in linking people living with HIV to critical medical care and providing ongoing support to help them navigate the health care system and remain adherent to HIV treatment.

CHWs are lay members of communities who work either for pay or as volunteers in association with the local health care system and usually share ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status, and life experiences with the community members they serve. In HIV care settings, they are often HIV-positive peers who give counseling and guidance on health behaviors and assist people in receiving the care they need.

With the funding from the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund (SMAIF), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has announced a funding opportunity for a new program: Improving Access to Care: Using Community Health Workers to Improve Linkage and Retention in HIV Care.

This program is part of ongoing SMAIF efforts to support innovative programs that prevent new HIV infections and improve health outcomes among people living with HIV in racial and ethnic minority populations.