HIV patient navigation in the United States: A qualitative meta-synthesis of navigators’ experiences


Patient navigation is increasingly used to link and (re)engage persons with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to care. A more holistic understanding of patient navigation can be achieved by exploring the experiences of navigators, the persons who comprise half of the navigation process. We conducted a meta-synthesis of navigator experiences with HIV patient navigation using a phenomenological approach. We identified nine relevant studies. Data were analyzed using thematic synthesis. Analysis identified two overarching themes relating to (1) the breadth and depth of bidirectional relationships and functional activities that navigators undertake to connect their clients to care and (2) the inherently personal experience of delivering navigation services. From these thematic findings, we recommend that HIV patient navigators exhibit capacity and expertise in developing and maintaining interpersonal relationships with clients and health care systems/providers and develop self-care practices and emotional boundaries with clients. Our review seeks to advance public health research and practice by articulating key experiences and perspectives of HIV patient navigators, drawing findings and recommendations applicable to the development, implementation, and evaluation of HIV patient navigation.


Roland KB, Higa DH, Leighton CA, Mizuno Y, DeLuca JB, Koenig LJ




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Engagement and Care Cascade
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Linkage/engagement in care
  • Health Systems
    • Delivery arrangements


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