What we do
People who have been recently diagnosed with HIV face many challenges, and the activities developed aimed to address some of these challenges.
Guidebook for newly diagnosed patients
The guidebook for newly diagnosed patients is our first line publication that is provided via the national network of HIV healthcare providers (HIV Centres) to all newly diagnosed patients. We designed the guidebook with the aim of reducing the initial anxiety of newly diagnosed clients, to help them cope with and accept the diagnosis, and to provide answers to the most commonly asked questions by newly diagnosed people who live with HIV. The guidebook was written by a group of PLHIV, uses real-life examples of Q&As from our internet forum for PLHIV, and encourages patients to further explore our services (in particular the peer-to-peer services).
Peer-to-peer service ’Buddies’ and Sdílna+ (Family Plus)
Our new peer-to-peer service ’Buddies’ has been designed as a community based programme, although we do envisage a link with the health centres. ’Buddies’ are a network of volunteers and PLHIV that can meet on a confidential basis with newly diagnosed clients and provide peer support, information and assistance around topics such as HIV diagnosis, experience sharing and mutual support, self-esteem and treatment adherence.
Seven volunteer ’buddies’ have been recruited who have been living with HIV for at least two years. They are from different sex and age groups, which allows newly diagnosed patients to liaise with a peer of the same sex/similar age. The volunteers have been trained on HIV-related issues including confidentiality and are supervised by our licensed counsellor. PLHIV participating in the ’Buddies’ service can also take part in our quarterly group meetings for newly diagnosed patients organized at Dum svetla.
The Sdílna+ (Family Plus) service is a peer-to-peer service similar to our ‘Buddies’ programme, designed for partners, families and friends that need support in dealing with HIV. Although there is demand for this service, it is not as high as demand for support from PLHIV, as many clients initially do not disclose their diagnosis to their families and friends.
Treatment literacy programme
Apart from ad hoc leaflets on selected treatment related topics such as adherence or drug resistance there was no comprehensive publication on treatment literacy programme for PLHIV in the Czech Republic. With this project we designed a brochure using the UK HIV i-base template ‘Introduction to combination therapy’ which is available for photocopying free of charge. We translated the publication, customised it according to Czech treatment guidelines (which were changed in January 2016 and also included a recommendation to start treatment immediately after diagnosis). The publication contains approximately 92 pages, and 1500 copies have been printed.