HIV/AIDS COMMUNITY CARE & SUPPORT

Community care and support is a broad categorization of HIV/AIDS services that is required to comprehensively and holistically support HIV/AIDS-related needs. The entry point to this type of care takes place at the household or community level.

Client and household-centered care optimizes the quality of life for individuals and communities affected by HIV/AIDS through an integrated approach that responds to non-clinical needs that impact clinical care and retention.

Community care and support goes beyond the medical management of HIV/AIDS to comprehensively address the psychological, social, cultural, material, and legal vulnerabilities that may occur throughout the continuum of illness. The evolution of this type of care from traditional palliative and home-based care, which often refer to end-of-life AIDS care, has dramatically increased in the age of antiretroviral therapy (ART).

A variety of support services are put to use in order to provide quality-of-life improvements to individuals who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.


CLINICAL SUPPORT SERVICES

Clinical support services refer to the home-based alleviation of HIV/AIDS-related symptoms and pain, nutritional assessment, routine and ongoing case management at the household level, ART adherence, and entry and retention in clinical programs that provide a full range of biomedical HIV/AIDS services.

Screening and referrals for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), tuberculosis (TB), and other common co-infections, and positive prevention activities are included to combine biomedical and behavioral interventions. Core-to-community clinical support services are those that directly mitigate barriers to and support ongoing access to ART programs.


PSYCHOLOGICAL CARE SERVICES

Psychological care services include interventions that address the non-physical suffering of HIV-positive individuals and family members, such as mental health counseling, support groups, support for disclosure of HIV status, and bereavement care. Clergy or traditional or spiritual leaders may provide spiritual care services in order to remain sensitive to the culture and rituals of the individual and community. This care may include life review and assessment, and counseling related to hopes and fears, meaning and purpose, guilt and forgiveness.


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SOCIAL SERVICES

Social services are focused on people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. These services provide access to community-based support groups; mobilize communities; develop the leadership of people living with HIV/AIDS; work to reduce stigma; provide transportation support; and connect families with legal services to assist with succession planning, inheritance rights, and legal documentation, such as living wills or powers of attorney. These services also help to secure government grants, housing, and health care; link families to food support and income-generating programs; and increase community awareness of HIV care, treatment, and preventions services.

All of this is done to strengthen affected households and communities in an effort to reduce the stigma surround HIV/AIDS, offer hope to those who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS, and help people see that they can continue to live positively.