Peer Knowledge and Roles in Supporting Access to Care and Treatment
Tobias, Carol R.
Goldenkranz, Sarah B.
Fine, David N.
Loscher-Hudson, Brenda S.
Colson, Paul W.
Coleman, Sharon M.
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Citation (published version)Tobias, Carol R., Serena Rajabiun, Julie Franks, Sarah B. Goldenkranz, David N. Fine, Brenda S. Loscher-Hudson, Paul W. Colson, Sharon M. Coleman. "Peer Knowledge and Roles in Supporting Access to Care and Treatment" Journal of Community Health 35(6): 609-617. (2010)
People living with HIV (PLWHIV) have been involved in the continuum of HIV care since the early days of the epidemic providing education and prevention services. There is a growing interest in utilizing HIV positive peers to support access to care and treatment, but little is known about the range of roles these peers perform and what they need to know to do this work. This study of 186 HIV-positive peers currently providing community health services in eight states found that peers perform a wide range of roles, including assistance with care and treatment, emotional support, and service referrals. Over 80% discussed medications with clients. On average, experienced peers provided correct responses to 73% of questions about HIV and AIDS, and 65% of questions about the appropriate role of a peer. Peers living with HIV for more than 5 years, in paid employment with more than a high school education had higher HIV knowledge scores than volunteers. Higher education, length of time living with HIV, age and speaking English as the primary language were associated with higher peer knowledge scores. This study suggests that we cannot assume that peers already working in the field are fully knowledgeable about HIV care and treatment or peer roles. It is important to address gaps in knowledge through continuing education and to create common standards for the training and skills that peers who work in community health settings need to have.
RightsCopyright Tobias et al. 2010