1 December 2022

People living with HIV in Sheffield urged to get invaluable support from dedicated peer support services

This World Aids Day (1 December) Sheffield Teaching Hospitals is reminding anyone in Sheffield living with HIV that one-to-one peer support services can be accessed through its leading integrated sexual health services.

People living with HIV in Sheffield urged to get invaluable support from dedicated peer support services

The dedicated peer support service, which is part of a range of integrated ‘one-stop shop’ HIV services provided by a team of specialists including nurses, doctors, social workers, dietitians and psychologists, can be accessed either remotely or face-to-face at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital’s Stonegrove Centre.

Anyone in Sheffield who is experiencing problems relating to their HIV diagnosis is entitled to access the service. This includes people who have been newly diagnosed with HIV, those who are starting or changing treatments, those who need support with medication or those being judged negatively by themselves or others.

Peer support workers are specially trained to help people improve their own understanding of HIV, treatments and build confidence in living with and talking about HIV.

Individuals accessing the service receive up to six one-to-one sessions focusing on areas such as adjustment to diagnosis, taking medication, telling others and wellbeing.

Dr Becky Green, Senior Clinical Psychologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “HIV can affect anyone regardless of age, and the Covid pandemic means that we all have a lived experience of what it is like to fear a virus and how talking about it freely and sharing public health information can reduce stigma.

"Peer support is valuable at any moment of change in your life, so this World Aids Day we are encouraging anyone in Sheffield who is living with HIV to contact our specialist nurses on either 0114 2711882 or 0114 27113531 or email sth.specialistnursingteam@nhs.net irrespective of how long they have been diagnosed or what their difficulties.

"Covid restrictions also mean that our service has been less visible over recent years so if you are interested in becoming a HIV peer support worker we would very much like to hear from you.”

HIV is now a very treatable virus and thanks to advances in care most people can live long and healthy lives and do normal things like go to work, college, get married or have children.

More information about the work of the Stonegrove Centre, who look after over 1,100 patients in Sheffield living with HIV can be found here.

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