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Two alternatives of group support for people living with HIV/AIDS PLWHA): a Brazilian experience.


Int Conf AIDS. 1996 Jul 7-12;11(1):185 (abstract no. Mo.D.1764). Unique

Issue: Although Porto Alegre is the third city in number of AIDS cases in Brazil, adherence to the only self help group for PLWHA available was low. Project: An open discussion group for PLWHA called "The Positive Meeting" was initiated. It is coordinated by a team of 3 HIV+ volunteers who select topics for discussion and invite professionals to speak at the meetings. Condoms are distributed and participants are also informed about AIDS-related news and events. Admission to the self help group, which is coordinated by two volunteer therapists, became conditioned to a regular attendance. Results: The Positive Meeting has an average of 15 participants, and over 50 people have participated at least once. The meeting has attracted PLWHA who were not regular users of our services and some participants have become volunteers at GAPA/RS. The creation of this new activity enabled the consolidation of the existing self help group for HIV+ persons as a place for an in-depth reflection on living with HIV/AIDS, with an average of 10 participants. Lessons Learned: In general, PLWHA who engage in peer groups express two distinct needs: to keep informed about the advances on HIV/AIDS and give/receive occasional/regular emotional support. Offering activities suited for each need secures adherence and promotes involvement in the movement for a better quality of life for PLWHA.

*Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome/THERAPY *HIV Infections/THERAPY *Self-Help Groups *Social Support


Information in this article was accurate in January 30, 1997. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.