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«Peer» Navigators

The experience of HIV-positive peer counselors in the context of the rehabilitation and resocialization of drug use was presented in Saint Petersburg.   On September…
Peer counselors HIV

The experience of HIV-positive peer counselors in the context of the rehabilitation and resocialization of drug use was presented in Saint Petersburg.

 

On September 15th and 16th, 2016 in Saint Petersburg a scientific-practical conference on the issues of holistic rehabilitation and resocialization of drug users was conducted, bringing together over 100 participants from six regions of the Russian Federation. Among them was NP E.V.A. Project Coordinator Yaroslava Medvedeva, who presented on “Peer Counselor as a Navigator Between Narcological, Infectious Disease, and Reproductive Health Services”.

 

Yaroslava spoke about the work of the project E.V.A. Caring, which our organization has been carrying out in Saint Petersburg since 2012. More than 81 % of clients who have been assisted through the program are women. 75 % of the project’s clients are chemically dependent. 35 % of them have been in remission for over a year and 45 % are active users. Almost 92% of the project’s clients are HIV positive.

 

The Main Work of Peer Counselors:

 

— Accompany clients to various institutions, including medical

 

— Help in hospitalization of patients, including in the municipal narcotics hospital

 

— Search for resources in other non-profits to provide assistant to clients

 

— Accompany clients to peer support groups, Narcotics Anonymous, and groups for people living with HIV

 

— House visits with a social worker

 

— Counseling by phone

 

The work experience accumulated by peer counselors demonstrates the need for an actualized gender-sensitive approach in treating substance dependence, specifically relating to: the necessity of creating rehabilitation centers for women with children and implementing modern methods of medical support for pregnant drug users.

 

The scientific-practical conference on the issues of holistic rehabilitation and resocialization of drug users was organized by the Saint Petersburg Committee on Social Politics and the Saint Petersburg community charity foundation, Humanitarian Action.

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