National Standards for Peer Support in HIV. 2017

Published by HIVPEERSUPPORT

What is Peer Support?

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.

Peers can be people with similar health conditions, and/or from similar communities or backgrounds, including people with shared identities based on their sexuality, gender, ethnicity or other characteristics.

Peer support creates opportunities for both parties to grow and achieve a sense of control and empowerment.  It can be formal or informal, and can range from friends sharing, to people within groups supporting each other, to a befriending service.

Peer support is a reciprocal relationship, benefitting both those providing and receiving the support.  Benefits can include creating collective strategies to maintain health, building resilience and self-esteem and aiding advocacy and collective action.

Structured peer support is delivered by trained peer staff or volunteers, in both one-to-one or in group settings.  Trained peer supporters can model positive and healthy behaviour and signpost to services and appropriate information.  The focus is on strengths and abilities, motivating and working to achieve agreed goals and improve or maintain quality of life.

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