HIV Peer Mentor Training with Project 100

Earlier this month, we were delighted to welcome a new team of Peer Mentors to our Peer Mentor training programme, carried out in partnership with Project 100 at the Brownlee Centre, Glasgow.

Living with and managing HIV can be challenging for many people. Whether it’s coming to terms with a new diagnosis, starting or changing treatment, managing relationships or talking about HIV. Peer support has been proven to be an effective way of enabling people with HIV to live well and manage the condition.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with Positively UK to train and support Peer Mentors across Scotland. Through the training programme, Peer Mentors learn to share their own knowledge and experience to help people better understand HIV and learn to take care of their health and wellbeing. Peer Mentor’s also learn ways of using their experience to help people build confidence in living with HIV while empowering them to feel more comfortable telling others about their status.

When asked about the training programme, some of our current Peer Mentor’s said:

“The benefits of peer mentoring are amazing – the change in the person from the first meeting to the last meeting, they’re a lot more confident, things are a lot more doable in their words, and its great because they’re like ‘I’m going to try this, I’m going to try that’ whereas at the beginning they wouldn’t have done that. It’s rewarding to see that improvement in somebody.”

– John, 47

“If peer mentoring makes life easier for someone else then that’s what I want, because you don’t want to struggle and be distressed and not taking part in things or miss out on life because you’re still dealing with these issues. But by addressing the issues hopefully we can speed up the process a wee bit so you can get back to a life you can really enjoy.”

– Esther, 34

Our Peer Mentor training programme is a vital part of providing support to people living with HIV – with peer support complementing NHS services, as well as our support services at Waverley Care. Recognising this, the British HIV Association (BHIVA) have published guidelines for good peer support practice, highlighting the value of Peer Mentors:

“Peer support is a relationship in which people see each other as equal partners and where the focus is on mutual learning and growth. At the roots of peer support there is a hope and a belief that through sharing and support we can transform our lives and the lives of our communities for the better.”

We want to thank all of our new and existing Peer Mentors, who generously give their time to make a positive difference in the lives of people living with HIV in Scotland.

We are also grateful to be delivering this work in partnership with Positively UK, whose work has improved the confidence and emotional wellbeing of people living with HIV across the UK.

*All names changed for anonymity.