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Navigating Barriers to Vocational Rehabilitation for HIV-Positive Persons


This study documented the outcomes of 108 HIV-positive persons receiving vocational rehabilitation services. Over a 12-month follow-up, participants reported significantly decreased odds of any unstable housing [Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) = 0.21; 95 % CI 0.05-0.90; p < .05] and increased odds of being employed at least part-time (AOR = 10.19; 95 % CI 2.40-43.21; p < .01). However, reductions in perceived barriers to employment and increases in income were more pronounced among those not receiving disability benefits at baseline. This was consistent with findings from baseline qualitative interviews with 22 participants where those not on disability were subject to bureaucratic hurdles to rapidly accessing benefits and anticipated stigma of being on disability that propelled them to rejoin the workforce. Vocational rehabilitation could address key structural barriers to optimizing HIV treatment as prevention, and novel approaches are needed to improve outcomes among individuals receiving disability benefits.

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