The CARE Experience

CARE helps people move from understanding to action

Typically, CARE first assesses a patient’s knowledge, behaviors, and goals. CARE then provides highly personalized feedback that synthesizes the information, identifies risks and strengths, and provides relevant skills-building experiences. Finally, CARE provides ways for a patient to create a personalized risk-reduction plan.

Unlike most risk-assessment tools, CARE is not didactic. Consistent with behavior-change models and with our own success at providing better health outcomes, CARE relies on a patient’s own experience and goals to guide them to making an incremental and achievable plan so they build on their own success.

CARE is available anywhere—in the clinic, at home, or on a mobile device. And if you have unique needs, we can customize CARE for your workflow and desired patient experience.

1. Choose a counselor

A typical CARE session begins with the selection of a counselor—an avatar that will accompany the patient through their CARE experience. The patient can select a counselor (usually but not necessarily a human) that is familiar or comforting. The counselor accompanies the patient throughout their CARE experience, narrating questions and responses with facial expressions appropriate to the content on the screen (such as “concerned,” “supportive,” or “inviting”).

2. Counselor assesses risks

The counselor chosen by the patient guides him or her through a Risk Assessment—a personalized interview about the patient’s behavior, knowledge about health risks, and personal health goals. Typically, the Risk Assessment asks questions on demographics, living conditions, health status, state of knowledge, intentionality, and behaviors that might lead to risk.

CARE uses a sophisticated logic processor to determine which question to show next and how to modify the interview based on the answers already provided.

3. Counselor helps patient think it through

Each CARE experience usually includes Thinking It Through, which is a highly personalized counseling session based on the information provided during the Risk Assessment. Thinking It Through typically comprises:

  • Synthesis, which summarizes the patient’s status and compares behaviors that are contrary to their goals.
  • Feedback, which alerts the patient to risky behaviors, ranked by severity, as well as behaviors that are healthy and minimize risk.
  • Skills-building videos, which deliver personalized skills-building messages in an engaging, realistic scenario.

4. Counselor helps patient make a plan

Finally, patients can make their own risk-reduction plan in Make A Plan. CARE provides an appropriate set of plan domains, and guides the patient to choose incremental and achievable steps to reduce their health risks. Crucially, making a plan is driven by the patient—they choose what to work on, and what steps they think they can achieve. CARE helps them avoid choosing an unrealistic set of steps. CARE then helps the patient think through how they’ll carry out their plan—who they’ll ask for support, what barriers they foresee, and how to overcome these barriers.

At the end of a CARE session, patients receive a report that summarizes their risks, the feedback they received, and their plan. The report may also include information such as local referrals and contact information.

Patients can return to CARE at defined intervals for additional sessions, follow up on the plans they made last time, and create new plans. Follow-up sessions may simply repeat the initial protocol, or be completely different, depending on the clinical or research need.


CARE is a ready-to-use tool HIV treatment and risk reduction.

If you have special needs, we can customize CARE to your project or organization’s requirements.