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Types and delivery of emotional support to promote linkage and engagement in HIV care

Authors Cook CL, Canidate S, Ennis N, Cook RL

Received 7 July 2017

Accepted for publication 20 October 2017

Published 29 December 2017 Volume 2018:12 Pages 45—52


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Christa L Cook,1 Shantrel Canidate,2 Nicole Ennis,3 Robert L Cook4

1Department of Family, Community, and Health System Science, College of Nursing, 2Social and Behavioral Science, College of Public Health and Health Profession, 3Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, College of Public Health and Health Professions, 4Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health and Health Professions and College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

Purpose: Despite recommendations for early entry into human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) care, many people diagnosed with HIV delay seeking care. Multiple types of social support (ie, cognitive, emotional, and tangible) are often needed for someone to transition into HIV care, but a lack of emotional support at diagnosis may be the reason why some people fail to stay engaged in care. Thus, the purpose of this study was to identify how people living with HIV conceptualized emotional support needs and delivery at diagnosis.
Method: We conducted a secondary analysis of qualitative data from 27 people living with HIV, many of whom delayed entry into HIV care.
Results: Participants described their experiences seeking care after an HIV diagnosis and identified components of emotional support that aided entry into care – identification, connection, and navigational presence. Many participants stated that these types of support were ideally delivered by peers with HIV.
Conclusion: In clinical practice, providers often use an HIV diagnosis as an opportunity to educate patients about HIV prevention and access to services. However, this type of social support may not facilitate engagement in care if emotional support needs are not met.

Keywords: linkage to care, engagement in care, social support, qualitative

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