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
- General HIV+ population
- Engagement and Care Cascade
- Linkage/engagement in care
- Retention in care
- Health Systems
- Delivery arrangements