Health Consumers Queensland Annual Forum

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Queensland Positive People was invited by Health Consumers Queensland to showcase ‘Peer Navigation for People Living with HIV’ at their annual Forum in Townsville, Thursday May 18.

The forum, tilted ‘Power and Passion: Culture change through consumer engagement and partnerships,’ showcased great examples of consumer and community engagement in Queensland.

Apart from QPP’s Peer Navigation Program, presentations highlighted partnerships and models of engagement with consumer groups across Queensland’s community and health care sector.

The Life+ Peer Navigation presentation was delivered by Chris Howard, Life+ Programs Manager and Satrio (Tiko) Nindyo Istiko, Peer Navigation Team Leader. The presentation focused on the historical role of peers in the HIV response from the early 1980’s through volunteerism, essentially peers were the care providers, advocates and activists early in the HIV epidemic. Peer Navigation has its foundations in this early community driven response to HIV and is built upon the principles of GIPA/MIPA (The Greater/Meaningful Involvement of PLHIV 1994) in recognising and valuing the importance of the lived experience and valuable role PLHIV peers play in the HIV response.

Today, QPP’s Peer Navigators work alongside health care professionals in a paid and professional capacity to support their peers newly diagnosed and those reengaging in care providing both peer education and peer support. There is formal recognition from funders and researchers alike including; Queensland Health, ViiV Health Care, HIV Foundation Queensland and University of Queensland of the important role PLHIV peers play in the new era of HIV care, treatment and support.

The data presented highlighted the success of the program with 76 PLHIV being Peer Navigated since the commencement of the program in late 2016. There were a total of 10 women supported through Peer Navigation, 10 Medicare Ineligible PLHIV and 10 people who identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander.

The presentation highlighted some of the challenges and also future plans for Peer Navigation in Queensland. QPP’s Peer Navigation program is an adaption of Positive Living’s Peer Navigation Program, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.