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Author Topic: Peer support at outpatient clinics improves the wellbeing of PLHIV.  (Read 1454 times)

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Offline Jim Allen

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Good, always thought peer support would be good to have integrated with the clinics or at least onsite within the same building.

Full Story: Aidsmap 31 May 2022

In Short:
Peer support provided at outpatient clinics in Norway improves health outcomes, addresses the diverse needs of people living with HIV and improves wellbeing. In a qualitative study recently published in BMC Health Services Research, Anita Øgård‐Repål from the University of Agder and colleagues reported that peer support plays a key role in personalising outpatient clinic services.

Five outpatient clinics implemented  a peer support programme during 2019 and 2020. Healthcare providers at these clinics informed patients about the peer support programme and arranged a meeting between peers.

In-depth interviews were conducted with six women and ten men accessing HIV care and peer support at these clinics to understand their experience with the peer support programme. The ages of the participants ranged from 30 to 58, with a mean age of 44 years.

The authors note that this is the first study investigating the experiences of people living with HIV with peer support in outpatient clinics in a Scandinavian, low-prevalence, high-income country. In Norway, most non-governmental organisations are in bigger cities and are connected to religious organisations. This leaves the outpatient clinics as the only place where all people living with HIV can access equal services regardless of their faith, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

The authors emphasise that “personalised peer support with routine medical care is superior to a routine clinic follow-up in improving the health outcomes of people living with HIV”. They highlight “the necessity of embedding peer support in outpatient clinics to equalise peer support opportunities for people living with HIV, overcoming barriers in contacting non-governmental organisations in a culture of non-disclosure.”
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