Accessing HIV-related care is challenging for formerly incarcerated people with HIV. Interventions informed by the perspectives of these individuals could facilitate engagement with care and address competing priorities that may act as barriers to this process.
We used concept mapping to identify and prioritize the main obstacles to engaging with HIV-related care following prison release. In brainstorming sessions, formerly incarcerated people with HIV generated responses to a focused prompt regarding the main barriers to reengaging with care. These were consolidated in 35 statements. Next, participants sorted the consolidated list of responses into groups and rated each from lowest to highest in terms of its importance and feasibility of being addressed. We used cluster analysis to generate concept maps that were interpreted with participants.
Overall, 39 participants participated in brainstorming sessions, among whom 18 returned for rating and sorting. Following analysis, a seven-cluster map was generated, with participants rating the ‘Practical Considerations’ (e.g. lack of transportation from prison) and ‘Survival Needs’ (e.g. securing housing and food) clusters as most important. Although ratings were generally similar between women and men, women assigned greater importance to barriers related to reconnecting with children.
Using concept mapping, we worked with formerly incarcerated people with HIV to identify and prioritize key challenges related to accessing health and social services following prison release. Transitional intervention programs should include programs and processes that address meeting basic subsistence needs and overcoming logistical barriers related to community re-entry.