Migration and geographic mobility increase risk for HIV infection and may influence engagement in HIV care and adherence to antiretroviral therapy. Our goal is to use the migration-linked communities of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and New York City, New York, to determine the impact of geographic mobility on HIV care engagement and adherence to treatment. In-depth interviews were conducted with HIV+Dominicans receiving antiretroviral therapy, reporting travel or migration in the past 6 months and key informants (n=45). Mobility maps, visual representations of individual migration histories, including lifetime residence(s) and all trips over the past 2 years, were generated for all HIV+ Dominicans. Data from interviews and field observation were iteratively reviewed for themes. Mobility mapping revealed five distinct mobility patterns: travel for care, work-related travel, transnational travel (nuclear family at both sites), frequent long-stay travel, and vacation. Mobility patterns, including distance, duration, and complexity, varied by motivation for travel. There were two dominant barriers to care. First, a fear of HIV-related stigma at the destination led to delays seeking care and poor adherence. Second, longer trips led to treatment interruptions due to limited medication supply (30-day maximum dictated by programs or insurers). There was a notable discordance between what patients and providers perceived as mobility-induced barriers to care and the most common barriers found in the analysis. Interventions to improve HIV care for mobile populations should consider motivation for travel and address structural barriers to engagement in care and adherence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases