We mapped mobile medical clinic (MMC) clients for spatial distribution of their self-reported locations and travel behaviors to better understand health-seeking and utilization patterns of medically vulnerable populations in Connecticut. Contrary to distance decay literature, we found that a small but significant proportion of clients was traveling substantial distances to receive repeat care at the MMC. Of 8404 total clients, 90.2% lived within 5 miles of a MMC site, yet mean utilization was highest (5.3 visits per client) among those living 11-20 miles of MMCs, primarily for those with substance use disorders. Of clients making >20 visits, 15.0% traveled >10 miles, suggesting that a significant minority of clients traveled to MMC sites because of their need-specific healthcare services, which are not only free but available at an acceptable and accommodating environment. The findings of this study contribute to the important research on healthcare utilization among vulnerable population by focusing on broader dimensions of accessibility in a setting where both mobile and fixed healthcare services coexist.
Social network analysis (SNA) and social network-based interventions (SNI) are important analytical tools harnessing peer and family influences critical for HIV prevention and treatment among substance users. While SNA is an effective way to measure social network influences, SNI directly or indirectly involves network members in interventions. Even though these methods have been applied in heterogeneous ways, leading to extensive evidence-based practices, systematic reviews are however, lacking. We searched five bibliographic databases and identified 58 studies involving HIV in substance users that had utilized SNA or SNI as part of their methodology. SNA was used to measure network variables as inputs in statistical/mathematical models in 64 % of studies and only 22 % of studies used SNI. Most studies focused on HIV prevention and few addressed diagnosis (k = 4), care linkage and retention (k = 5), ART adherence (k = 2), and viral suppression (k = 1). This systematic review highlights both the advantages and disadvantages of social network approaches for HIV prevention and treatment and gaps in its use for HIV care continuum.