Interventions that retain African Americans in HIV/AIDS treatment: Implications for social work practice and research


Social workers play an important role in recognizing and addressing barriers to retention in HIV care. Although there is a large body of literature and research supporting interventions that promote medication adherence, there is limited intervention research that addresses retention in care, the precursor to adherence. Despite many advances in HIV treatment, many African Americans are not engaged in regular care. In a systematic review, the literature was critically appraised to examine intervention research designed to retain HIV-infected African Americans in treatment. Only peer-reviewed studies published from January 2002 through October 2012 were examined. The initial search generated a total of 798 studies. However, of these, only 13 met the inclusion criteria. Results highlight interventions that can be replicated by social workers – such as the use of ancillary support services, the use of adherence manuals, and theory-based interventions – to engage this population in care. Policy implications are also discussed.


Gaston GB, Gutierrez SM, Nisanci A.




  • Population(s)
    • Ethnoracial communities
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Retention in care
    • Treatment
  • Prevention
    • Education/media campaigns
  • Health Systems
    • Delivery arrangements


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