Ask an Expert: What Are the Challenges With Getting HIV Care?

This article is part of Health Divide: HIV, a destination in our Health Divide series.

Ask an expert: Dr. Shepherd

Xiaoyu Liu / Verywell

Verywell Health: What are the challenges with getting HIV care?

Dr. Shepherd: The biggest challenge is access to care. Once someone is diagnosed, the first question is: What do we do now? How do we get that person effective and efficient care?

HIV has a lot of treatment therapies and medications now, but there are some communities that don’t have access to the same types of medications that we might see in other areas or neighborhoods. That creates a challenge of access.

From a marginalized community perspective, along with the stigma associated with HIV, the challenge also becomes being able to discuss your diagnosis. For example, men who have sex with men (MSM), drug users who inject drugs, or transgender women—those are communities that are marginalized already.

So the HIV stigma continues to be a major barrier to treatment. These are communities that don’t feel safe in general, even without an HIV diagnosis. That creates a barrier to prevention, testing, and treatment.