Innovative Approaches to Engaging Hard-to-Reach Populations Living with HIV/AIDS into Care

From the Ryan White All-Grantee Meeting to the International AIDS Conference to the in+care Campaign, from case conferencing to the water cooler, the “treatment cascade” seemed to have everyone, everywhere talking.  The numbers were even explored right here on ShareSpot, too! So what can we do to get these hard to reach HIV patients into—or back into—care and treatment?

One answer is to read the new IHIP (Integrating HIV Innovative Practices) training manual and associated curriculum on engaging hard-to-reach populations living with HIV/AIDS. These materials synthesize the successful practices across Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HIV/AIDS Bureau’s Special Projects of National Significance population-specific initiatives.


Whether you’re a clinician or a case worker or anyone in between, these materials can help inform your approach and better arm you and your staff to meet those most in need. In particular, the manual outlines models of engagement including

  • Traditional street outreach
  • Motivational interviewing
  • In-reach
  • Social marketing/social networking campaigns, and
  • Health system navigation/enhanced case management.

The training materials explore how these models help patients overcome barriers to testing, treatment, and care access and retention.

Appendices call out pertinent data and barriers relevant to particular populations such as

  • African-Americans/Blacks;
  • Hispanics/Latinos;
  • Asian and Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders;
  • Native Americans/Alaska Natives;
  • Incarcerated individuals;
  • Women (particularly women of color); and
  • Men who have sex with men.

A resources section is also included for further reading and to encourage increased dialogue on this imperative topic.

The SPNS Program is the research arm of HRSA’s HIV/AIDS Bureau, dedicated to piloting innovative and replicable models of care. The IHIP project is an effort to further disseminate SPNS best practices and encourage replication. For that reason, training PowerPoint slides are ready to launch and curricula includes trainer talking points, handouts, and step-by-step educational activities. To keep the conversation going and ensure that you’re as armed as you can be, a series of Webinars will soon be taking place, and subsequently posted, on the IHIP site (  Webinars will highlight some of the best and most promising grantee sites and their successful SPNS stories. You’ll hear from staff—and their patients—readily engaged in these models, and benefitting from this care. Keep an eye on the TARGET Center events announcements or email me, Sarah Cook-Raymond at, to be added to the IHIP announcement emails.

Together we can do more for people living with HIV and it needn’t mean re-inventing the wheel. It may simply mean knowing where to look and who to talk to. So, tell me, what would you like to hear about on our upcoming webinars and will we see you there?