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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county & community efforts.

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The linkage program assists persons living with HIV that are aware of their status, persons who have newly tested HIV positive, and persons who are not currently accessing HIV/AIDS care.  The program goals are to increase the number of people who know their HIV status, to increase the number of HIV positive persons linked to care, to increase the number of people retained in care and on antiretroviral therapy, and maintaining a suppressed viral load.  The Linkage Team has worked to redefine the culture of those who serve HIV-infected persons, to enlist everyone in the spectrum of services, (case managers, medical providers, prevention providers, etc.) to link those with HIV to medical care.  We invite community providers, consumers, patient care advocates, clinical staff and others to be a part of the Linkage Team as we assist HIV-diagnosed individuals to find a medical home. 

Peer Navigator Program

Peer navigation is the process of patient navigation and delivery of services to HIV-positive persons in order to assist in client access to the medical, social and supportive services needed to maintain his or her health. Peer navigators are integral to medication and treatment adherence and provide specialized services in a professional environment. Peer navigators work to encourage engagement into care and support medication and treatment adherence by providing education, resources, and mentorship. The role of the peer navigator is to provide a bridge between providers and clients that facilitates the medical and psychosocial care of the client. A peer navigator is someone who has accepted his/her HIV diagnosis, has learned to live with the disease and manage its daily challenges. The peer navigator serves as a role model who provides reliable information, steers clients in the proper direction to meet their care needs, and helps them overcome barriers to remaining in care. Peers provide persons living with HIV (PLWH)/AIDS with guidance and advocacy beyond that which can be provided by case managers and clinicians, through experienced guidance and culturally sensitive, plain language messages. The programs aim is to improve health outcomes for newly diagnosed clients, those transferring their HIV care to another clinic or organization, or those returning to care. This is a voluntary program and clients must agree to receive peer support services prior to the start of services.

There are currently 13 Peer Navigator programs funded by the HIV Section. The programs are located in Escambia, Okaloosa, Leon, Duval, Alachua, Orange, Hillsborough, Sarasota, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties.

  • Provide linkage to care to patients in a timely and coordinated manner and maintain medical stability and suppressed viral load
  • Provide clients with healthcare navigation and social services
  • Work together with clients to support treatment (medication) adherence
  • Assist patients with building skills and knowledge needed to achieve and maintain a stable health status

Links to web resources related to Peer Navigation Programs

Tools for HRSA's Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program

HIV Navigation Services

Peer Education and Evaluation Resource Center