Peer Support Group Update

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QPP have been helping to coordinate monthly social events for People Living with HIV (PLHIV) across Queensland. We are expecting to extend social events to every region of the state in order to reach out to all people living with HIV.

The aim of the Peer Support Groups is to enable all PLHIV to socialise with their peers in a safe place and in an environment which is non-judgmental. Creation of these community groups relies heavily on the commitments of PLHIV themselves as well as their facilitators. We have 6 social events already established in Queensland:

  • Brisbane BBQ first Saturday of the month.
  • Cairns Coffee Club. First Thursday of the month.
  • Cairns Bowling Club. Second Sunday of the month.
  • Brisbane Womens Connection Cycle. Third Saturday of the month
  • Rockhampton Support Group. Every two Months.
  • Nambour/Sunshine Coast Social Group. Last Sunday of each month.

End of the year events – Planet Positive & PozModern

Planet Positive is a social event held quarterly to allow PLHIV to have fun in a safe space, it is also an opportunity for the whole community to gather for friendship and to provide support for each other. All members of community are welcome including PLHIV and their significant others.

This year, Queensland Positive People is holding a 1-day art exhibition ‘PozModern’ at the end of the year Planet Positive event, which is on Friday 16th December. This exhibition will showcase a variety of established and upcoming artists from within Queensland’s PLHIV community. All these artists are living with HIV.

The exhibition is open to the public from 12pm – 5pm; and continues to be open for the Planet Positive event commencing at 5pm – 10pm.

Cairns region also held their Planet Positive to mark the end of the year on the 1st of December. The Cairns event was a combination of World AIDS day and Planet Positive.

Why Peer Support?

The main objectives of Peer Support are,

  • Creating a safe space where PLHIV can find support from peers through social connections.
  • Safe space to promote other programs and services that QPP is currently providing for people living with HIV in Queensland.
  • Peer Support social events help to build hope and resilience among PLHIV through learning and sharing. In addition it can create a social environment that can enables individuals who are socially isolated or vulnerable to understand other ways on how PLHIV can navigate societal issues by listening to other pers.
  • Peer Support promotes health and wellbeing amongst PLHIV by sharing own lived experience with fellow peers. Through social events QPP can share the latest social and scientific developments about HIV, treatment and prevention.

Peer linkage

  • This is a new program whereby QPP staff are able to casually link their clients with another person living with HIV within their local area.
  • This is particularly useful for people in regional locations, heterosexual men and women; and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Both parties must have given their consent and agree to meet each other before details are exchanged.

20+ Program

  • The 20+ group is a new group in developmental stages. Members in this group include those PLHIV who were diagnosed before the year 1996. In consultation with QPP, the 20+ group are still deciding upon the format, timing and venue. Details to be advised.

Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) group

  • QPP are yet to engage CALD populations in a specific social group; however we’ve been very successful in engaging them at individual level. Perhaps this is due to the impact of stigma which is a significant challenge within these communities. In addition, people from refugees’ background are often faced with many challenges around culture, values and norms.

Indigenous Australians

We are liaising with 2Spirits in the hope to create a specific social group for Indigenous PLHIV. Indigenous people are often connected strongly to their land therefore QPP would like to collaborate more with community elders and other Indigenous support services in order to provide culturally sensitive support to all Indigenous PLHIV in Queensland.

Trans Community

At the moment QPP don’t have a social group specifically for Trans people but we are supporting Trans people to attend social events that are mostly attended by their preferred gender. If anyone in the community feels the need for a specific social group for the Trans/PLHIV community, please contact the Peer Support Officer, Max Amolloh.

The year 2016 has been a year to celebrate many improvements within the Peer Support groups in terms of social connections. Within the Peer Support program we are looking forward to a greater 2017 and hopping to reach all people living with HIV in Queensland “no one should feel isolated or marginalised”. These programs are for all people living with HIV regardless of their gender, sexuality culture religion or political affiliation.

For more information on Peer Support groups, events and linkages, please contact Peer Support Officer, Max Amolloh on 1800 636 241.