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Many rural communities lack HIV/AIDS providers. If there is a provider located in the community, people living with HIV/AIDS may have to travel a significant distance to access these services. Some people may require transportation assistance because they do not drive, do not have a car or access to public transportation, or cannot afford transportation to a provider. As a result, transportation is a significant barrier to care.

To address this issue, some rural HIV/AIDS programs work with peer navigators to drive people living with HIV/AIDS in private cars to appointments, reimbursing them for their time and mileage. During these trips, the peer navigator talks with the person about their experiences and helps to identify other resources to support them. Other rural programs have vans that transport people across multiple counties to appointments.

Some programs also have a health mobile unit that travels to rural communities to reach people at a high risk for HIV, offering a range of services from blood pressure screening to HIV and STD testing. Programs may also offer gas cards to people who need assistance with transportation costs so they are able to visit a provider.

Resources to Learn More

New Strategies for Rural Care
A brief discussing barriers to care for rural HIV/AIDS patients, including transportation and social stigma. Includes examples of rural programs that have increased access to transportation for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Organization(s): Health Resources and Services Administration
Date: 4/2009

Traveling Towards Disease: Transportation Barriers to Health Care Access
A literature review addressing the challenges that transportation can pose to rural communities in implementing HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs. Also includes methods to address this barrier.
Author(s): Syed, S.T., Gerber, B.S., & Sharp, L.K.
Citation: Journal of Community Health, 38(5), 976-993
Date: 10/2013