Barriers to HIV care: An exploration of the complexities that influence engagement in and utilization of treatment

Mary A. Cavaleri, Kosta Kalogerogiannis, Mary M. Mckay, Laura Vitale, Erika Levi, Sian Jones, Fran Wallach, Erin Flynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study is an exploration of engagement in outpatient medical care, medication utilization, and barriers to treatment utilization among 24 predominantly low-income, ethnic minority adults who were admitted to an urban hospital for HIV-related illnesses. A semi-structured interview was administered during the sample's hospital stay to explore patterns of service use and identify barriers to care. The majority of the sample was connected to an outpatient provider and satisfied with the care they received; however, most missed treatment appointments and skipped medication dosages. Health and treatment-related barriers, competing demands, and co-occurring mental health symptoms and illicit substance use were identified as barriers to care. Multiple obstacles indigenous to the individual, their treatment, and the environment prevented consistent treatment use among an economically disadvantaged ethnic minority sample: Implications and future directions in engaging vulnerable populations into health care for HIV are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)934-945
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Work in Health Care
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Barriers to medical care
  • HIV service use
  • HIV treatment engagement and adherence
  • Patient compliance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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