Timely linkage to care and treatment by HIV-positive individuals can lead to significant decreases in morbidity and mortality as well as increases in life expectancy and quality of life.1, 2. Further, there are significant prevention benefits as early initiation on antiretroviral treatment (ART) can significantly reduce HIV transmission to uninfected partners.3, 4 Modeling exercises also suggest that universal HIV testing coupled with immediate treatment could decrease HIV incidence and virtually eliminate the HIV/AIDS pandemic. To achieve this, the rate of linkage to care must be 100%.5 This underscores the importance of understanding and addressing barriers to linkage. Little is known about such barriers, particularly for newer community-based models of testing such as home-based HIV counseling and testing (HBHCT). Current evidence suggests that HBHCT is acceptable and effective in raising HIV awareness.6, 7 Thus the mandate for scale up is strong, and the next step is to ensure that appropriate measures are put in place to maximize the benefits of timely linkage.
View the complete Linkage to care following home-based HIV counseling and testing policy brief