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Medical–Legal Partnerships to Support Continuity of Care for Immigrants Impacted by HIV: Lessons Learned from California


The United States (US) has experienced a surge of anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric, raising concerns about the influence on health outcomes for immigrants living in the US. We conducted qualitative interviews (n = 20) with health care and social service providers, attorneys, and legal/policy experts in California to understand how agencies were maintaining access to HIV care and prevention for immigrant clients. We conducted a thematic analysis to describe the role of medical–legal partnerships (MLPs) and document best practices. Informants reported high demand for legal services. Referrals were facilitated by case managers, medical providers, and pre-existing relationships between clinics and legal agencies. Informants identified a need for additional funding and further guidance on screening for and supporting patients with legal needs. MLPs have the capacity to create sustainable, efficient, comprehensive structural changes that minimize barriers to HIV prevention and treatment and improve health outcomes among immigrant populations.

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This research was supported by a grant from the California HIV/AIDS Research Program, Office of the President, University of California, Grant Number RP15-SF-096. The authors wish to thank all study participants who generously put their time and thought into the interviews. We are also grateful for the support from colleagues Emma Bohannon, who assisted with data collection in San Francisco, and Emma Wilde Botta, who assisted the team with codebook development.

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Correspondence to Shannon M. Fuller.

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Fuller, S.M., Steward, W.T., Martinez, O. et al. Medical–Legal Partnerships to Support Continuity of Care for Immigrants Impacted by HIV: Lessons Learned from California. J Immigrant Minority Health 22, 212–215 (2020).

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  • Medical–legal partnerships
  • HIV care and prevention
  • Immigrant
  • Qualitative research
  • United States