Florida Public Health Review

Publication Date



Background: Miami, Florida persists as an epicenter of HIV/AIDS nationally and has been more delayed than other areas with high HIV burden in implementing public health measures that mitigate transmission risk. These issues among other social and structural-level determinants have complicated progress in addressing HIV/AIDS in Miami.

Purpose: The stagnated progress in improving HIV outcomes in Miami necessitated a more comprehensive understanding of the experiences and insights of stakeholders within the system. We used a stakeholder analysis approach to understand the complexity of driving factors and key challenges facing this HIV epidemic.

Methods: A stakeholder analysis was conducted through 11 focus groups (64 participants) with front line workers working in non-profit, community-based agencies in Miami. The interview guide was designed to elicit a broad discussion on the social and intermediary determinants of HIV/AIDS, as well as the context surrounding barriers to treatment. Data were analyzed using qualitative software for thematic analysis.

Results: Participants highlighted particular populations vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and insufficiently engaged in treatment, including immigrants and people who use drugs. Stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS as well as sexual orientation, mental health, and drug use was a noted persisting barrier. Participants expressed needs for more targeted outreach and education for both prevention and treatment. Numerous systemic gaps were identified as barriers to treatment engagement and retention. Other comorbidities and socioeconomic challenges, including criminal justice histories, housing instability and low educational attainment, also hamper HIV/AIDS management.

Discussion: Through these discussions with stakeholders representing a diversity of voices, findings can inform comprehensive and coordinated strategies for curbing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Miami. The development of prevention and treatment interventions should consider cultural contexts of health behaviors, multi-level stigma related to HIV/AIDS and other comorbid and socioeconomic challenges, and increased implementation of harm reduction programs such as PrEP delivery and syringe exchange programs.