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Rural Health Information Hub


Many rural communities lack HIV/AIDS providers. If there is a provider located in the community, people living with HIV 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 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 mobile health 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 STI testing. Programs may also offer gas cards to people who need assistance with transportation costs, so they are able to visit a provider. The Ryan White Program Part B also supports transportation needs for rural communities by providing medical transportation for people with HIV.

For more information about implementing rural transportation programs and strategies for improving access to transportation, see the Rural Transportation Toolkit.

Resources to Learn More

Traveling Towards Disease: Transportation Barriers to Health Care Access
Summarizes and evaluates peer-reviewed studies on transportation barriers and their impact on accessing primary healthcare and chronic disease care in urban and rural areas. Discusses measures of transportation barriers including vehicle access, travel mode, urban and rural differences, travel time and distance, and discusses the impact of these barriers.
Author(s): Syed, S.T., Gerber, B.S., & Sharp, L.K.
Citation: Journal of Community Health, 38(5), 976-993
Date: 10/2013