What Experienced HIV-Infected Lay Peer Educators Working in Midwestern U.S. Hive Medical Care Settings Think about Their Role and Contributions to Patient CareSeq ID: 122
Authors: Enriquez M, Farnan R, Neville S
Website link: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/apc.2013.0021
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Workforce Development: General
This qualitative study examined the role of experienced HIV-infected lay individuals who work in HIV medical care settings as educators. Participants in this study had been in the role an average of 4 years, and referred to their work as ‘‘peering,’’ a newly coined verb in the vein of nursing. An overarching theme was that the title ‘‘peer educator’’ captured neither the scope of their work, nor the skill set they contribute to patient care. Peers brought unique contributions to the HIV care team that were vital to encouraging patients to stay engaged in care. Peers felt undervalued and expressed the wish to be ‘‘professionalized.’’ Results from this study suggest that peers show promise as behavior change agents who can model healthful behaviors, particularly for newly diagnosed patients or those struggling with engagement in HIV care and adherence to treatment. However, peers need and want more formal training in behavior change science, and peer-led services must become more uniform and readily available to patients across HIV care settings. Research is needed to document the positive impact that peers can have on HIV-related health outcomes and to increased knowledge about the attributes of successful peers.