Benjamin Hegarty, Sandeep Nanwani, & Ignatius Praptoraharjo
Background: Community-based outreach programs play an important role in the provision of HIV testing, treatment and health care for men who have sex with men (MSM) in Indonesia. However, qualitative studies of community-based HIV programs have mostly focused on clients rather than on outreach workers (OW). The experiences of MSM peer OW provide insights into how to extend and improve community involvement in HIV programs in Indonesia. Methods: This is a qualitative study based on focus group discussions, which brought together MSM OW (n = 14) and healthcare workers (n = 12). This approach facilitated documentation of the challenges associated with community-based outreach programs in Indonesia through a participatory focus group discussion between OW and healthcare workers. Results: Findings are reported in relation to challenges experienced in the context of community outreach, and solutions to the challenges faced by OW. It was found that awareness of a shared commitment to delivering HIV programs can facilitate good relationships between OW and healthcare workers. Conclusion: Future efforts should consider the role of OW within broader relationships, especially with healthcare workers, when developing community-based responses to HIV testing and treatment. Documenting the role of OW can help contribute to an understanding of ways to adapt HIV programs to reduce barriers to access both for those identified as MSM and others who are ambiguously placed in relation to the programmatic use of such categories.