HRSA Webinars on Engaging Hard-to-Reach Populations

HRSA logoBeginning later this week, the HRSA HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB) will host a series of webinars focused on engaging hard-to-reach populations in HIV care. The webinars will synthesize some of the successful practices in engaging hard-to-reach populations from HAB’s Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) population-specific initiatives, and will provide insights relevant to a wide range of audiences, from clinicians to social workers. Information on the first two of these webinars is listed below.

  • Engaging Hard-to-Reach Populations through Inreach
    May 1, 1:00-2:00 pm ET
    Register for the second webinar here Exit Disclaimer.

Strengthening efforts to link, engage and retain populations not currently in HIV care are important steps in improving the HIV care continuum (also sometimes called the treatment cascade).

Learn more about engaging hard-to-reach populations into care on a previous ShareSpot blog Exit Disclaimer post from the AIDS Education and Training Centers National Resource Center’s.

Additional resources are available from the HAB-supported TARGET Center Exit Disclaimer.



  1. I teach at-risk boys in a safe house program. They all have an acute antenna for the rhetoric that comes out of the mouths of adults. Code for hypocrisy.

    Mantras and slogans: AIDS-free generation would be one. Just get tested would be another one. They’re smart enough to understand that the system wants them identified, and that it has no intention of treating them. They come from backgrounds where services are promised, but they are not delivered, or they are delivered for a while, and then the rug us pulled out from under them. If you ask them what programs they are talking about, they have a list, but they will all go to food stamps, and the fact that sequestration has reduced the amount of food people can eat. They are frequently identified in educational assessments as being stupid, the lowest of the low, but these assessments are flawed. There are many different kinds of intelligence. The ability to survive in a very harsh environment is a form of intelligence whether our systems can recognize that fact or not.

    The bottom line for the boys I deal with is that they have all turned to prostitution so that they can feed themselves. What the sex marketplace does to them is to reduce them to commodities , and it puts them in immediate danger. They have all been raped, beaten up, robbed, and abused because these things are simply realities that they face living the life.

    When you tell them that there’s a government program being developed to reach exactly such boys as them, they laugh. You are too constrained by your paradigms to enter very far into their world which is an underground landscape of both physical, economic, and emotional fortresses.

    They do not trust you. You have done nothing to show them you, indeed, can be trusted. You will have to invent some more ideas that aren’t posters and websites they would never read anyway.

    They see you as the system. You’re the people who arrest them, who hassle them, who dictate to them when and where they have to be at clinics, who throw their parents into jail; you maintains drug policies that make no sense to them because you incarcerate them but you in no way provide them with a way out, and they completely understand that it is a matter of priorities and resources. You don’t want to pay for it anymore than you can control the dynamics of sequestration which has axed continued funding for AIDSdrugs, and if anyone who pays the price for public policy, it will be them, and for them, public policy is punitive. Example: the hard to impossible to reach population of unaccompanied latino boys. You are not even cognizant they exist. How are you going to integrate them in any program if you do not know they are there. You don’t understand that traffickers and pimps are the same people. You don’t comprehend that typically they have been trafficked to the US to do sex work and can be infected here, not in Mexico, but Mexico is where they will be returned, and it’s a death sentence for anyone who needs HIV meds to stay alive.

    It’s not that they think you are just the suits. They totally believe you are the people who would kill them because someone must be blamed.

    I don’t know how you recover from that. HIV is just one more thing they have to survive, and they do not really believe they will survive. They’re depressed and can be suicidal.

    It isn’t a question of just treating depression. You just don’t speak their language. You are the enemy. You can deny you are the enemy all you want. They will not believe it. You are asking them to come over to the enemy. They avoid anything you touch. You do not save them from the families that abuse them. You put them in schools that fail them. And you lie about programs that would facilitate them to not be hungry, to put roofs over their heads, and to provide them with environments where they might slips the bonds of addiction.

    HIV has been around all their lives. You have made no inroads towards reaching them. You want them tested but you put them on waiting lists versus treating them.

    I do not think you have those skills and paradigms to reach them. You have washed your hands too many times for them to trust you in any way. They see where you put your resources. It doesn’t matter what you articulate. It’s what you do that matters. To think you have the ability to reach them is a hubris that they are all too aware of, and they do not believe you are on their side because you aren’t.

  2. This is a very touching post and hope that the boys will have a help any escape the prostitution and other immoral acts that can results in HIV infection.

  3. Will you be one of the speakers during the webinar? If not, you need to be.

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