Over the last 5 years, the number of youth (ages 13-24) in Nevada that have tested positive for HIV has remained consistently high, generally ranging from 80-100 persons per year, which is roughly 20% of all new HIV positive diagnoses each year. Approximately 90% of those new HIV diagnosis in Nevada can be found in Clark County. Our proposal for a capacity development program, falls under the category of HIV Care Innovations, Community Health Workers. We are proposing a comprehensive Community Health Workers Program for 16-24 year old youth living with HIV to prepare them to become peer navigator/community health workers. Completion of the program will lead to Community Health Worker certification and an opportunity for externships with medical providers and community partners. We will also provide them the training included in the Project Consumer Access and Adherence to Care for HIV (CAATCH) program, which is considered a best practice by HRSA. Community health workers (CHWs) have been successfully deployed to support people with HIV and other chronic illnesses to enhance patient access to care and maintain long-term treatment adherence and retention in care. Peer navigator/CHWs can motivate attitudinal and behavioral change in people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH) and tap into existing social networks to connect with even the hardest-to-reach populations. Involvement of peer navigator/community health workers can motivate not only clients but also the peers themselves (Best Practices for integrating Peer Navigators into HIV Models of Care May 2015). CHWs enhance HIV care teams by working in partnership with case managers, nurses, doctors, social workers, and other service providers to address the medical, social, and economic needs of PLWH. CHWs are often referred to as a bridge between the client, the community where the client lives, and medical clinics or community-based organizations. As such, their work is bi-directional. CHWs have a role i
n improving the health of clients and their communities, and they also influence the program and the clinical setting in which they function. CHW’s unique ability to connect with the community can have an impact on all aspects of the Triple Aim: “improving client experience, improving health care, and lowering cost (Boston University, Community Health Worker Role on the HIV Care Continuum Fact Sheet). We are respectfully requesting an award amount of $150,000 to cover the costs associated with making this proposal a reality. A significant amount of the funding will cover staffing costs necessary to develop, oversee and track program participants through all phases of the project.