Patients, peers and volunteers

Welcome to the bumper 2016 summer edition. In this issue we have focused on upon the one thing that makes us nurses: patients. Within HIV care, it is our patients who have fought, challenged, shaped and developed the HIV service that we see today. Patient involvement has led to patient groups, peer support, peer-led services and the involvement of patient at the highest board level to ensure their voices are still heard and acted upon.

Shaun Watson
Clinical Nurse Specialist

Peer support in HIV care

While very much an upcoming health support strategy, peer support has been a mainstay of HIV care since the initial days of the epidemic, over 30 years ago. The gay community took up the challenge to look after its own when few others would, setting up organisations such as Body Positive and Terrence Higgins Trust to provide support and share what little information there was available. Peer support has developed over the years and with the NHS recognising its value, and many local authorities specifying the requirement for peer support and mentoring in their tenders for HIV services, the time has clearly come for programmes that deliver on the approach laid out in the BHIVA 'Standards of Care for People Living with HIV'.

Garry Brough
Positively UK

ChemSex and care-planning: One year in practice

Throughout the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the disinhibition and poor judgement associated with drugs and alcohol have continuously impacted our patients’ abilities to practice safe sex and to keep themselves safe from infection.

David Stuart & Johannes Weymann
Substance Use Lead & Specialist Advisor, 56 Dean Street

Injecting drug users

People who inject drugs (PWID) certainly have to be considered as a ‘hard-to-reach’ population at risk of HIV transmission. They often come from marginalised groups in society, such as sex workers, MSM or prisoners, and once they are diagnosed with HIV, often are stigmatised further, driving them more underground, and away from any support services.

Linda Panton
Clinical Nurse Specialist, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh

Take Control, Learn and Connect: weekend workshops for people recently diagnosed with HIV

For many people, receiving an HIV diagnosis is a worrying and confusing time. Whatever the reaction, one thing that is common at the start of a person’s HIV journey is the need for information, reassurance and support. Providing support and interventions at this early stage of diagnosis has long been recognised as beneficial to the client. Positively UK has developed a weekend workshop programme for recently diagnosed people: Take Control, Learn, and Connect.

Marc Thompson & Jim Fielder
National Coordinator, Project 100 & Gay Men's Support Worker, Positively UK

HIV and frailty: Just another symptom?

It seems obvious doesn’t it: we get older we get frailer. But are the two things automatically connected, and what is frailty? To some it’s generalised weakness, the inability to complete activities of living, or is it just an affliction of old age?

Shaun Watson
Clinical Nurse Specialist

HIV Nursing

Sharing best practice in HIV care

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