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Evaluation of a Linked Service Model of Care for HIV-positive, Homeless, and At-risk Youths
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Two instruments were used to evaluate an agency's type and availability of services for HIV-positive and at-risk adolescents, and to assess opinions concerning health care referral patterns. These instruments were administered to representatives of 22 agencies from 10 categories of health care services. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling was used to model ratings of interagency knowledge, referral patterns, and general satisfaction with services. We found that no agencies offered youth services for inpatient adolescent-specific mental health treatment or short-term residential drug treatment; however, few offered long-term residential substance abuse detoxification services (5%), outpatient drug maintenance (5%), HIV-specific inpatient services (9%), intensive day treatment for substance abusers (9%), HIV home care (14%), HIV hospice care (14%), inpatient medical services (14%), short-term shelters (14%), long-term housing (18%), HIV-specific clinical trials (18%), and dental services (23%). Barriers to expanding care included lack of funding, transportation, and lack of awareness among youths about services. A multidimensional scaling analysis identified a tight service cluster of two community health centers and the largest public hospital serving poor communities of color, as well as a relatively tight cluster of three service agencies located on the Boston Common serving homeless youths. A third service cluster consisted of two university-affiliated medical centers and one community health center. In conclusion, we found that many critical services for HIV-positive youths are relatively scarce. Multidimensional scaling provides a visual presentation of the relationships of network sites. This evaluation of services indicates a need for increased, accessible youth-oriented HIV services and suggests that linkages across the three distinct clusters of service providers should be solidified. These methodologies can be used to develop a generic model describing the stages of linkage formation in HIV care service networks. (Authors)
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services