Improving Referrals for HIV Care Through Organizational Network Analysis


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Abstract

Context:The link between testing for HIV and obtaining antiretroviral therapy (ART) is central to the HIV/AIDS control strategies of UNAIDS (the “90-90-90” goals) and the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (“Test and Start”). To ensure that 90% of those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS begin ART and 90% of those on ART achieve viral suppression, service providers not providing all services need to refer patients to other organizations.Setting:Homa Bay, Kenya.Objective:Homa Bay county's HIV/AIDS prevalence is one of the country's highest. We identified the organizations providing some aspect of HIV/AIDS care and investigated ways in which they work together, or do not, to cover the comprehensive needs of those they serve.Design and Participants:We identified 56 organizations and interviewed a representative from each about his or her organization's services and its connections with the other 55, with particular interest in referrals from sites that test for HIV but do not treat infections to sites that do treat infections.Main Outcome Measure:Referral connections.Results:Referral connections among the 56 in the past 30 days were relatively rare, averaging fewer than 2; 13 organizations made no referrals at all. Notably, 5 facilities that test for HIV did not refer their clients to an ART provider. We found 2 distinct clusters of connected organizations: one in Homa Bay Township and the other in Rangwe subcounty. When we convened the organizations and presented our results to them, they expressed interest in establishing better connections and referrals.Conclusions:Homa Bay has an opportunity to improve care for people with HIV/AIDS, in particular ensuring that those testing positive receive treatment, simply by making better use of the services already available. This can be achieved by informing each organization of the services provided by each of the others and by bringing the organizations together to plan and monitor the services' coordination. These steps could be implemented separately in each of the 2 organizational clusters.

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