As an HIV service professional, you know that hopes for ending the HIV epidemic depend in large measure on maximizing the benefits of antiretroviral treatment (ART) by making sure clients receive treatment as soon as possible. Providing ART to people within seven days of new HIV diagnosis or re-engagement in care —Rapid Start— has been shown to increase rates of ART uptake and markedly reduce time to viral suppression compared to later ART initiation.
The question for health care professionals is often not whether to implement Rapid Start, but how.
In response, since 2020, CAI’s Rapid Antiretroviral Treatment Dissemination Assistance Provider (DAP) project has been working with Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP)-funded programs (i.e., clinical teams, Part A/B staff, CBOs) to identify innovative and effective models for providing Rapid Start for people who test newly positive for HIV—or are re-engaging in care. While conducting field visits we interviewed over 150 diverse RWHAP providers from across the country, and the clients they serve. They described the positive impact on HIV care continuum outcomes that result from providing Rapid Start services. We packaged what we learned into a set of resources that showcase best practices for implementing Rapid Start.
While this information is especially relevant to RWHAP-funded staff (administrators, multi-disciplinary clinical team members, and supportive service providers), it was designed to benefit all people working in the HIV care field.
New Rapid Start Resources
Compendium of Rapid Start Best Practices
In this resource, you’ll find information describing the core elements of providing Rapid Start services and associated best practices identified by your peers, including:
- Planning for and building buy-in for Rapid Start services
- How to finance Rapid Start services and ensure same-day access to ART
- Rapid Start workflows and staff roles and key tasks
Though not all best practices will be applicable to all providers, the contents and examples can be adapted for use in diverse settings.
Rapid Start Service Delivery Models
Profiles of eight diverse Rapid Start service delivery models — including Health Centers, and hospital-based and health department providers — featuring:
- Descriptions of how Rapid Start services were financed and tailored for their context
- Site-specific process maps, staff roles and key tasks
- Cost estimates for implementation and sustainment of services
Patient and Provider Perspectives Videos
This series of four videos features the perspectives of clients and health care providers.
Provider perspective: “We really don’t see many patients disappear after that initial visit. They want to come back." Kerry Kay
Patient perspective: "If they didn’t give [medication] to me as soon as I found out I had HIV, I probably wouldn’t have taken it." Ramirez
Rapid Start Cost Estimate Tools
These tools will assist providers who want to implement Rapid Start services in estimating costs associated with planning, implementing, and sustaining Rapid Start services.
The Rapid ART Dissemination Assistance Provider (DAP) project is one of several CAI initiatives that have helped improve HIV services since the start of the epidemic. Read about other current projects addressing HIV/AIDS on caiglobal.org