Talking about living with HIV to someone who has HIV themselves can be great. Peer support means you can have a frank and private talk with someone who is trained to help you. He, she or they know how you can deal with HIV in your life and how you can learn to accept HIV. These conversations can give you more self-confidence. And hopefully you won’t feel so alone. It’s usually a lot of fun too!
There are several organizations that offer peer support. Peer support has different forms: one-on-one conversations, national meetings and workshops for everyone living with HIV and activities for specific target groups, such as women's days, community days for migrants and weekends for young people. The offer is described per organization on this website.
How is peer support organised?
The Hiv Vereniging offers support and contact, enabling you to take control of your life with HIV. In addition to information and advocacy, the Hiv Vereniging offers various forms of peer support:
If you've just found out you are HIV positive and you are starting your treatment, you may benefit from one-to-one counselling with someone who also has HIV. This peer counsellor is trained to give you optimal support. You get matched with someone who suits your needs at that moment. Two to five conversations, at a place of your choosing, will help you to learn to accept your HIV and to find your own path.
The Positive Living workshop series
The Positive Living workshops consist of a number of information meetings in a fixed group of five to ten people. Positive Living is intended for people who have recently been diagnosed with HIV. And for people who want contact with other people with HIV. Positive Living can help you to deal with your HIV diagnosis.Two trained volunteers supervise the conversations.
The Servicepunt has a trained experience expert who you can call with all your questions about living with HIV, and to register for activities. Privacy is guaranteed.A single face-to-face talk is also possible!
You are not alone!
We are the Positive Sisters and Positive Brothers. We are in the same situation as you. There are many of us, we also come from Africa and The Caribbean. Ask your consulent to invite me and I’ll come to your hospital. We sign a privacy contract so we can talk freely. I call you once a week and meet up once a month. Like you, I was afraid – now I feel strong and free. You´ll get there too. You are not alone anymore!
We are Family!
We have great meetings at ShivA: we learn about our health, talk about partners and children. We eat, laugh and dance together. Our children have fun. Once you are ready for it, you are welcome!
Really talking it over & Kloosterdagen (retreats) for everyone with HIV
Everyone needs to reflect on life from time to time. Our councellors and pastors are happy to spend time with you for this. The retreats are for those who have to make an important decision. And for rest and reflection. In a monastery – but you need not be religious.
Stichting MARA in Rotterdam has two major peer support projects:
PKB (Bundling Positive Forces) and The Group.
The PKB project offers support to migrants in Rotterdam living with HIV. A volunteer who has been living with HIV for some time, can teach you how to deal with HIV and with the treatment. Your peer mentor is trained to guide you in the best possible way and to help you take your pills consistently. Ask your HIV counsellor or HIV practitioner for more information.
The group is for young msm men in Rotterdam. The Group meets once a month after work. We talk about family issues, life, cultural stigma, but also about love and acceptance. You can express your feelings, fears and hopes for the future without being judged.There is a meal ready for you to eat together, while you talk and get to know each other.The Group consists mainly of men under 35 from different cultures and ethnic groups who have had sex with other men.There are exceptions of course, so please call or email Karlijn from Stichting MARA.
Guidance for everyone living with HIV.
Mara also provides individual spiritual counselling for everyone in Rotterdam living with HIV who is trying to find their way. There is also a dining club to meet other people with HIV.
Registration for PKB or The Group is done through
Karlijn Bunnig, 06 41 53 53 22, firstname.lastname@example.org
RESET is a series of empowerment workshops to increase your resilienceto stigma and self-stigma. Your outlook on life with HIV will be positively changed. The workshop is for people with HIV who are 18 or olderand speak either Dutch or English.
Dealing with stigma
HIV-related stigma is very common. People living with HIV often have to deal with negative reactions. It is also possible you expect negative reactions or relate negative social attitudes to yourself. This affects your compliance with therapy, your openness about HIV and your health. A good program can contribute to fewer negative feelings about HIV and an improved quality of life.
Tips, exercises and experiences
You share your experiences of living with HIV in three two-and-a-half-hour sessions. You will get tips and exercises to deal with negative feelings and negative reactions to your HIV status. A maximum of eight people participate in each workshop. The workshops are spread over three consecutive weeks. You will be guided by hello gorgeous trainers who are themselves living with HIV.
hello gorgeous RESET foundation
This website is an initiative of the NIV and published by the Amsterdam University Medical Centers in collaboration with the Hiv Association, the ShivA Foundation, the MARA Foundation and with a subsidy from the SKMS.