Central Florida and the Orlando area have a pronounced need for health services tailored to their burgeoning Latino population. A recent study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAN) details a study of 10 HIV services providers treating mainly Latino clients. The result is an outline of effective approaches to addressing barriers to care experienced by Latinos in America.
Although Latinos represent 14% of the U.S. population, they account for 17% of all diagnosed HIV cases and nearly 1 in 4 Ryan White Program clients (the Ryan White Program provides HIV care to low-income and no-income individuals).
Latinos have been disproportionately affected, but why? A few factors are cultural and linguistic competence, availability of translation services, acceptability by the Latino community, and policies limiting undocumented clients to services (undocumented clients have limited eligibility for publicly funded programs).
Some strategies to address these obstacles that have engaged this population in care and encouraged Latinos to stay in treatment:
-marketing campaigns to change social norms;
-partnerships with community organizations to address stigma issues;
-medical case management to increase care coordination; and
-bilingual and bicultural staffing.
Implementation of these best practices has produced short-run outcomes such as improved access to care, enhanced quality of life, and increased engagement of clients in their health care program.