Australia sets standards for HIV peer support in clinical practice

Australia sets standards for HIV peer support in clinical practice

NAPWHA Australian Peer Support StandardsAustralian HIV Peer Support Standards have been published by the National Association of People With HIV Australia (NAPWHA) in 2020, aimed at providing an excellent framework to guide people who are living with HIV, either providing or accessing peer support. They also can be used by healthcare providers, community health workers in who provide client services within HIV organisations, or policy makers who are setting  performance standards for the provision of peer support.

“Call it peer support, call it peer navigation, call it what you will – these Standards formalise the peer workforce, the strength of community, positive people supporting positive people, lived experience, strength, and shared journeys,” said NAPWHA President, Scott Harlum.

“They represent the evolution and practical implementation of once revolutionary ideas”.

The four Standards outlined in the document seek to ensure that peer support is provided by people living with HIV and that peer supporters will receive excellent training, on-going support and practice monitoring. Moreover, that they will be able to provide peer support that is tailored to the needs of specific populations, including to Indigenous Australians, adolescents and culturally and linguistically diverse populations.

Lisa Bastian (Manager, Sexual Health and Blood-Borne Virus Program, at the Government of Western Australia Department of Health) also endorsed the Standards.

“Each standard describes the expected outcomes for people living with HIV who are accessing peer support programs. Importantly, the standards also describe the requisite skills and competencies required of a peer supporter. It also explicitly recognises the need to invest in training and supervision for peer supporters”.

NAPWHA HIV Peer Navigator training in development

Throughout 2020-2021, NAPWHA continue to develop HIV Peer Navigator training, in the format of online learning modules. The aim will be to accredit the course through the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) VET qualifications, to enable that may be delivered via a registered training organisation (RTO).

HIV Peer Support Standards to be launched at the Virtual 2020 HIV Conference

Watch a presentation by the Standards’ co-author, Adrian Ogier (NAPWHA Deputy Director) who will promote the NAPWHA HIV Peer Support Standards next week in a presentation at the Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference held virtually from 16 – 20 November 2020.

He references current exemplars of peer-delivered service delivery that support people living with HIV, including that of Positive Life NSW’s HIV Work Ready program; Living Positive Victoria’s Peer Navigation Program; Positive Women Victoria’s and Queensland Positive People’s (QPP) peer supporters (comprising Peer Navigators, Peer Case Managers, and Peer Facilitators).

The Standards are dedicated to those brave HIV peer supporters who led the way.