Extending care beyond the traditional clinic approach is essential to reaching UNAIDS’ ambitious HIV treatment and viral suppression goals. Such care is often referred to as community care and may include community support and adherence clubs, nutrition and economic support, and delivery of medication refills and basic clinical evaluations. These and other strategies are currently being introduced within communities leading to a varied and heterogeneous array of services in many communities. Yet there has been little systematic planning in selecting and delivering community care services that best respond to the community’s HIV treatment needs.
Project SOAR is conducting research in the Ekurhuleni and Bojanala Districts of South Africa to improve the availability of effective care continuum services. The objectives of the study are to: (1) determine what community and clinic services are available in the catchment areas of 100 community clinics in each district; (2) identify associations between community and clinic-based services and care continuum outcomes; (3) develop a worksheet to easily assess availability of services associated with improved care continuum outcomes; and (4) pilot test use of the worksheet and utilization of the worksheet results to bring the identified services to the community.
Through improved information on community HIV care services and their relationship to care continuum outcomes, the study will provide valuable new knowledge about service gaps and approaches to planning and delivering services that best achieve HIV treatment goals.