As the number of people on antiretroviral treatment (ART) grows, the health systems of high HIV prevalence countries struggle with retaining patients in care and providing quality services. There is growing evidence that community-based HIV care models can both increase patient retention and reduce the burden on facility staff as well as patients.
Project SOAR is contributing to the evidence base on community-based care models by conducting implementation research in Tanzania, a country where 1.5 million people are in need of HIV care services, and where clients often drop out of care or are lost to follow up. This study employs a randomized, cluster design to test a model that uses community-based HIV service providers to deliver a new package of services within intervention health facilities and their surrounding communities. Quantitative, clinical, and qualitative data are being collected to measure the study’s outcomes, including client enrollment in care, retention in treatment, and ART adherence.
The research will advance understanding of the value of community-based HIV service providers in improving clients’ linkage to and retention in care, treatment adherence, and health and well-being. The results will help guide Tanzania and other high HIV burden countries in tapping community resources to meet the growing demand for care and treatment services.