It is estimated that 20 - 25% of persons living with HIV know they are infected and are not receiving consistent medical care. Combined with the people who are newly diagnosed, there is a great need to focus on linking HIV-infected individuals to available care and treatment. In Florida, we have a number of specific programs that work to connect people to care, and maintain that care over time. 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-infected individuals to find a medical home.
Peer Navigator Program
Peer Navigators are trained individuals from the community, who are living with HIV/AIDS. They serve as valuable members of the health care team, promoting linkage, medical adherence, and retention. Peer navigators are present at the initiation of services, and guide clients through each step of the process. Navigators provide a variety of services including: education on the basics of HIV/AIDS, connecting clients to needed services, assisting with appointment reminders, and serving as a liaison between clients and health care providers. Navigators offer strategies on medication adherence, self-care, and offer emotional support.
Currently, there are four Peer Navigator Programs funded by the Prevention Program, HIV/AIDS & Hepatitis Section. The programs are located in Duval, Alachua, Orange, and Palm Beach Counties. To learn more about one of the programs, please visit: http://peer.hdwg.org/peerprograms/boulevard