The role of peers in linkage, engagement, and retention in HIV care


Key take-home messages
  • In the HIV community, a peer is someone living with HIV who contributes to positive health outcomes of other community members, but is not usually a health care professional with clinical training.
  • Peers have made important contributions in HIV care, playing many roles and providing services such as education and social support.
  • Randomized controlled trials of peer programs to improve linkage, engagement and retention in HIV care have not shown significant differences compared to non-peer programs. More research and evaluation are needed to demonstrate the impact of peers on linkage and engagement in care.
  • Best practices for engaging peers in models of HIV care include protocols, procedures and checklists for beginning, expanding and implementing peer supports into HIV programming.
  • Challenges to integrating peers into HIV care include administrative barriers, issues of disclosure and staff unfamiliarity with peer roles.


The Ontario HIV Treatment Network: Rapid Response Service




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


Abstract/Full paper

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