The Peer to Peer Program was established in spring 2012 to increase engagement and retention in health care for individuals living with HIV, increasing the likelihood that they stay connected to a health care provider. The program is an outcome of the Saskatchewan HIV Strategy, is funded by the Ministry of Health and operates through Population and Public Health Services – Regina, Saskatchewan Health Authority. The purpose of the of program is to provide a unique link for newly diagnosed people living with HIV, those not engaged in care, or those who are admitted to hospital and who are living with HIV.
The Peer to Peer Program is a mentorship program where Peer Mentors living with HIV who are stable in their respective care plans provide support to Mentees who are living with HIV. The program believes that no one understands the reality of HIV better than someone who lives with it every day. Peer Mentors act in a supportive role to assist in linking and engaging individuals in care, to re-engage them into care, and to assist in maintaining them in care. It is the goal that utilizing a peer model will help decrease the time to engagement in care, increase retention in HIV care, and will assist in meeting clients “where they are at”.
Peer Mentors can provide those living with HIV someone to turn to who has been there and serve as an important role model. Peer Mentors receive remuneration for their work, attend monthly team meetings as well as training sessions to promote skill development and build capacity in the community.
Services provided by the Peer to Peer Program include:
One-to-One Peer Support. Designed to meet the individual needs of each Mentee. Mentees are people livng with HIV who may be newly diagnosed, in the hospital, or not engaged in care, or require tailored support. Mentors can offer them support.
Peer to Peer Support Group. Peer support meetings are led by Peer Mentors and are open to all people living with HIV. Persons living with HIV will be able to connect with people and share similar experiences.
Drop In. Peer Mentors and the Peer Program Coordinator are available at our drop-in locations to provide information about the program, resources, and support. (see pamphlet for more information).
The Program accepts agency and community referrals.