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Of Equal Status

Peer counselors have appeared in AIDS centers in six regions of the RF. Peer counselors share their first impressions of working.   In November 2016…

Peer counselors have appeared in AIDS centers in six regions of the RF. Peer counselors share their first impressions of working.
In November 2016 our organization launched the next stage of the Healthy Mother, Healthy Child project. You can read more what was done on the first stage of the project over the course of 2015-2016 here: One Project Can Change the Fate of Many People.
In 2016-2017 the project will be implemented in the following cities: Vladivostok, Ekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Saint Petersburg, Tumen, and Khabarovsk. The uniqueness and ingenuity of this phase of the project lies in the fact that peer counselors, or more correctly, ‘HIV Counselors’, are now officially stationed at AIDS centers in the cities mentioned above. The timetable for peer counselors is available here.
The tasks of the young women include:
— Developing a direct connection between peer counselors and specialists at AIDS centers: psychologists and doctors (pediatricians, infectious disease doctors, gynaecologists) with the aim of preventing refusal to treatment and surveillance (including the phenomenon of AIDS deniers) among pregnant women, mothers with children under three years of age, and parents/guardians of HIV positive children and adolescents.
— Attract HIV positive women to the project: disperse vitamins and women’s hygienic products.
— Organize and conduct in person/remote consultations (by phone or internet).
— Assist HIV positive women in challenging situations.
What peer counselors say:
Olga (Vladivostok):
“The nature of the work in November was mostly organizational. The interaction with specialists at the AIDS center (gynaecologist, psychotherapist, and pediatrician) was put into place and we met together twice a week. There were also two meetings with the head doctor and her deputy head. The agreement for working together was signed (between the AIDS center and me as project coordinator). Additionally, as per the request of the head doctor, a form was created to transfer the patients’ data. Since pregnant women and mothers do not visit the AIDS center on a daily basis and can’t always meet with the specialists in person, the specialists can pass their contacts along to me after receiving written approval.
In addition, the head doctor provided assistance in establishing contacts in the maternity ward where I will also be working. In order to do so, she managed to meet with the head OB/GYN of Primorsky Krai. And at the beginning of December I presented to the perinatal committee where I talked about our project and solved some organizational moments such as when and how specifically counseling will exist with clients of the maternity ward.
Business cards were created and printed to hand out to mothers and pregnant women. The phone line for the project was launched. The counseling will take place at the AIDS center on Wednesdays.
In November I was able to counsel 4 women, two in person and two by phone. One young woman was from Saint Petersburg and she plans to move to Vladivostok after giving birth.
The main challenge at this time is actually to start to work at last! We wish all the organizational issues could be solved more quickly. Also I have experienced a lack in my personal knowledge and I must study the labour code and learn more about rights in general.
My degree of preparedness to work to the fullest extent in December is the highest possible; my mood is excellent!”
To be continued. Follow the announcements on our site and on social media!

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