Summary of project
What is the project about?
The PEER + is a community-based program delivered by PLHIV to PLHIV with the support of experienced healthcare professionals. PLHIV are interviewed, and if suitable, trained for four months to provide peer support to PLHIV.
Why was the project developed?
Despite the fact that the importance of support from trained peers is recognised worldwide in improving the quality of life of PLHIV, this support has not been widely provided in Portugal.
What does the project involve?
To date Positivo has selected and trained six PLHIV to provide peer support. Those selected were interviewed and underwent psychological evaluation to determine their suitability. Positivo also developed partnerships with community organisations who trained and accepted those selected as interns. During training the interns were provided with information about HIV and AIDS, HIV transmission, treatment adherence, stigma and prejudice and peer and social support. Their attitude towards their HIV status was determined. All peers were monitored, had weekly supervision and psychological support both during training and while they were providing support for the duration of the project.
How has the project helped people living with HIV in Portugal?
In Portugal Positivo is the only organisation that has trained PLHIV to provide emotional and peer support and treatment counselling to PLHIV. To date evaluation of the first month of the project has been very positive. We believe that training PLHIV to provide support to others also empowers them to better understand themselves, which is in line with what we believe is best practice.