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Researcher develops peer-led program to help individuals with HIV adhere to treatment plans
Date:7/23/2013

long, healthy lives despite an HIV diagnosis. Enriquez said peer-led interventions have the potential to enhance HIV care and HIV-related health outcomes.

"The encouraging thing about HIV care is that patients can remain healthy if they are engaged in their care, and their viral loads decrease, which makes them less likely to spread the virus to others," Enriquez said. "Adherence to care and engagement in care go hand in hand. Having HIV is not a death sentence if patients follow their treatment plans."

Peer educators in the study also mentioned that, although their relationships with the patients were strong, they felt undervalued by professional members of the health-care community. The peers felt misunderstood or undervalued by health professionals and wanted their mentorship roles to have more credibility, perhaps through professional certifications.

Enriquez said she hopes to expand the peer intervention to additional HIV medical treatment centers. However, she said improving HIV care is about more than training more peers and implementing more interventions; HIV care is a community-wide, public health issue.

The journal, AIDS Patient Care and STDs, will publish the article, "What experienced HIV-infected lay peer educators working in Midwestern U.S. HIV medical care settings think about their role and contributions to patient care," later this summer. Study co-authors include Rose Farnan from Truman Medical Center in Kansas City and Sally Neville from the Kansas City Care Clinic.


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Contact: Jesslyn Chew
ChewJ@missouri.edu
573-882-8353
University of Missouri-Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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