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New Project Helps Integrate Trauma-Informed Care into HIV Services

NEW YORK, NY (June 2, 2022) – CAI has launched a new national initiative that brings healthcare professionals who serve people with HIV/AIDS together to learn how to provide services and create environments that meet the needs of patients who have experienced trauma. The effort is part of CAI’s TAP-in project, which provides tailored technical assistance and resources to help key governmental agencies and service providers in 47 jurisdictions in the U.S. reduce new HIV infections.

Fully 95 percent of people with HIV have experienced some form of trauma, which can make them reluctant to engage with medical and other systems. People who are undiagnosed—or are diagnosed but not receiving care—account for nearly all new infections. Understanding how to interact with patients who have experienced trauma and creating environments where they feel safe are critical to successfully reaching and serving people with or at risk of acquiring HIV.

The three-year initiative is being launched at sites in four jurisdictions. It is one of several CAI projects that are based on the learning collaborative model, in which participants work together and learn from each other while acquiring skills and knowledge that improve their services.

In the first year of the project, medical providers and office staff will:

  • Assess their physical environments and create plans to make them safe and welcoming to people who have experienced trauma
  • Learn how exposure to trauma affects people’s perceptions and behavior
  • Gain skills needed to de-escalate interactions with patients
  • Develop a plan to implement trauma-informed care throughout their site and potentially to other sites in their organization

In years two and three of the project, staff groups at each site will receive support and coaching from a CAI technical assistance team as they implement their plans, begin screening and treating patients for trauma, and expand their ability to deliver trauma-informed care and services to all patients. Jurisdiction leaders will participate in a second, complementary learning collaborative track focused on data, funding, and policy improvement.

Kelly McCauley, Project Director at CAI, said: “Trauma-informed care is a concept that has gotten a lot of attention in recent years, but people often think about it in the mental health realm. We’re excited to bring trauma-informed care directly to medical service providers to expand its reach and ultimately contribute to ending the epidemic.”