Health policy and planning 2018 03 26() doi 10.1093/heapol/czy024
Integrated models of HIV/AIDS service delivery are believed to have advantages over stand-alone models of care from health planners’ and providers’ perspectives. Integration models differ, yet there is little information about the influence of differing models on workers’ beliefs about models’ efficacy. Here, we examine the effect of integration of HIV care into the general health system in India. In 2014, India replaced its stand-alone model of HIV service delivery-Community Care Centers (CCCs)-with a purported integrated model that delivers HIV medical services at general hospitals and HIV psychosocial services at nearby Care and Support Centers (CSCs). We examine 15 health workers’ perceptions of how change from the earlier stand-alone model to the current model impacted women’s care in a district in Uttar Pradesh, India. Results indicate that (1) Women’s antiretroviral (ART) adherence and utilization of psychosocial support service for HIV/AIDS suffered when services were not provided at one site; (2) Provision of inpatient care in the CCC model offered women living in poverty personal safety in accessing HIV health services and promoted chances of competent ART usage and repeat service utilization; and (3) Although integration of HIV services with the general health system was perceived to improve patient anonymity and decrease chances of HIV-related stigma and discrimination, resource shortages continued to plague the integrated system while shifting costs of time and money to the patients. Findings suggest that integration efforts need to consider the context of service provision and the gendered nature of access to HIV care.