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Working with the community to age well with HIV

The Australian HIV population is ageing well thanks to advances in medical science but ageing presents its own challenges whether you’re living with HIV or not.

Vic Perri and Gerry O’Brien with their certificate of completion of the HIV Positive Self-Management in Chronic Disease (PSMCD) training course.

Living Positive Victoria and the Victorian AIDS Council (VAC) have collaborated to deliver a program to address the issues of ageing PLHIV that has two components: a peer led and ongoing support network as well as a self-management workshop. Two peer trainers have already been recruited and undertaken the HIV Positive Self-Management in Chronic Disease (PSMCD) training course provided by Stanford Medicine, a school of Stanford University and one of the world’s leading teaching and research universities.

“The training gave us a great opportunity to actually go through the sessions of the PSMCD workshop itself as a participant and become familiar with the content while building our capacity to eventually facilitate the course back here in Victoria,” said Vic Perri, Living Positive Victoria Health Promotion Officer.

Peer Support Network

A wonderful process happens during a peer support network as it provides a safe environment where individuals realize that they are not alone and there are others who are facing, or have faced, some of the challenges they are dealing with. The peer-led support network in the HIV & Ageing project will focus on improving self-advocacy, developing as well as developing the skills and the confidence to talk about the issues that are a part of living and ageing with HIV including how to actively engage healthcare providers in patient-centred care.

Self-management workshop

The strength in this program is that it will be facilitated by peers and will incorporate evidence based best practices from the PSMCD training course provided by Stanford Medicine. Materials will be tailored for the group and those that will benefit in particular will be participants with longstanding and significant comorbidities. Workshops will run for seven weeks and cover topics including:

  • Integrating medication regimens into daily life
  • Strategies to deal with frustration, fear, fatigue, pain and social isolation
  • Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility and endurance
  • Communicating effectively with family, friends and health professionals
  • Nutrition
  • Evaluating symptoms
  • Advance directives
  • How to evaluate new or alternative treatments

The first HIV & Ageing Peer Support meeting will take place on 30 September from 11am -1pm and is open to all people living with HIV who are 50 years of age and over.

To register call 03 9863 8733 or email  info@livingpositivevictoria.org.au