The Murcia Health Service (SMS) and the Adhara HIV/AIDS Association have signed an agreement to develop the “Pares” program at the HIV and STI Unit of the Virgen de la Arrixaca Hospital. Therefore, professionals and volunteers will help vulnerable patients in a coordinated manner. So far this work has been carried out by Apoyo Activo.
The unit, which pioneered the inclusion of “peer educators” in its multidisciplinary teams in Spain, has now renewed the agreement for four years, with an option to extend it for another four years. It is a collaborative model to develop personalized healthcare where volunteers will carry out preventive and health promotion activities through education and comprehensive care for each case.
Likewise, its purpose is to accompany patients in coping with the social, personal, family and work aspects of HIV infection or hepatitis C co-infection. To this end, the program also includes caregivers and family members in its activities and pays special attention to support for newly diagnosed patients.
Volunteers who initially serve as “peer educators” undergo four years of initial training. The training, which addresses healthy living habits, adherence to ART, management of adverse effects and reduction of risky behaviours, is taught by the National HIV and AIDS Coordinator (Cesida).
Another aspect of volunteer work is emotional support, which will be addressed through self-esteem management, information about Adhara’s own services, and other specific resources for people living with HIV/AIDS. All of these focus on reducing stigma for people living with these disorders.
In this way, the “peer educator” becomes a reference person for physical and mental health and complete normalization of life.