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Effective Interventions

Core Elements & Fact Sheet

About Project START +

Project START+ (PS+) is an HIV/STD/hepatitis linkage-to-care and risk-reduction program for people with HIV who are returning to the community after incarceration. The program provides six sessions with each participant and works with them one-on-one to serve as a “bridge” to their return to the community. Participants begin in the program up to two months before their release from prison or jail and continue the program in the community for three months after release.  

Intervention/Strategy Goals:

  1. Project START+ aims to reduce HIV, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and hepatitis risk behaviors in the client’s life after incarceration.
  2. Project START+  helps clients identify and address other issues and challenges that they may face when released from a correctional setting into the community. These issues may include housing, employment, or with substance use and mental health concerns (including HIV status).

Intervention/Strategy Core Elements*:

  • Schedule and facilitate program sessions with people with HIV who are preparing for release from a correctional facility. Use a client-focused, harm reduction, strengths-based approach that helps participants develop step-by-step solutions to strengthen their abilities to link into medical care after release.
  • Use assessment and documentation tools to provide a structured program which includes HIV/STD/hepatitis education and linkage to care, behavioral risk and reentry needs assessments, goal setting, strengthening motivation, decision making, and facilitated referrals.
  • Staff your program with people who are familiar with HIV, sexually transmitted infections and hepatitis treatment, care and prevention activities and the specific needs of people being released from correctional facilities.
  • Staff-participant relationships and rapport developed during pre-release sessions must be maintained during post-release sessions to promote participant trust and willingness to continue with the program.  Thus, the same staff member should conduct both pre-release and post-release sessions with his or her participants.
  • Conduct enrollment and schedule two pre-release program sessions within 60 days of a participant’s release.
  • Schedule four post-release sessions. Hold the first as soon as possible, ideally within 48 hours of release and at the participant’s community medical providers’ location. The next three sessions should be spaced out over 3 months after release. Provide condoms at each post-release session.
  • Actively maintain contact with participants, using individual-based outreach and program flexibility to determine the best time and place to meet with them, and updating participant’s contact information, as needed.
*Core elements are the characteristics of an individual intervention presumed to be responsible for the efficacy of the intervention.

Additional Resources

Capacity Building Branch:    Phone: 404.718.7850    E-mail:
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