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AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2011 Jul;25(7):403-11. doi: 10.1089/apc.2010.0388. Epub 2011 Jun 14.

"Positive Examples": a bottom-up approach to identifying best practices in HIV care and treatment based on the experiences of peer educators.

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St. Louis Area Chapter American Red Cross, Health and Safety Services, Missouri, USA.


Literature describing the roles and activities of peers working in HIV care is limited. Evaluations of the impact of peer-based behavior-change interventions reveal mixed results, due in part to varied program aims, structure, evaluation mechanisms, and training. Peers themselves are important resources to address these concerns and lay the groundwork for developing improved programs and evaluation strategies. This qualitative article describes peer support in HIV care and treatment from the perspective of 23 HIV-positive peers across the United States. Peers reported that peer characteristics (HIV-status, common experiences, and self-care) enable them to engage clients. Peers also required flexibility to respond to client needs, and their activities spanned four types of social support: informational, emotional, instrumental, and affiliational. We recommend peer programs and evaluations accommodate the broad scope of peer work by acknowledging the need for flexibility and activities that are not always directly related to clients' HIV care and treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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