Accelerating Best Practices in Peer Support Around the World



Breakthroughs in Hepatitis C Treatment Spark Need for Improved Patient Engagement and Medication Adherence

This week, we turn your attention to an overlooked and neglected disease that deserves a closer look. Contributing author Julia Hill is an MPH student at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill.

In the United States, deaths due to Hepatitis C outnumber deaths caused by HIV, and yet, it’s not something that we hear much about. According to the CDC, chronic Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne infectious disease, affecting approximately 3.2 million Americans.

Unlike Hepatitis A and B, there is no vaccine for the Hepatitis C virus. Once contracted, Hepatitis C often becomes a chronic condition. Over the course of decades, Hepatitis C gradually damages the liver, eventually causing organ failure or cancer, leading ultimately to liver transplantation or death.

Although treatment options for Hepatitis C can cure patients of the virus, there are substantial barriers to treatment uptake and adherence. Medications can cause serious physical and…


Impact of Integrated Healthcare on Social Support for Patients with Co-Morbid HIV and Chronic Illness in South Africa

Jewels Rhode is a second year MPH student in the Department of Health Behavior at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill.

For her practicum last summer, she traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, where she worked with the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) on examining the treatment and disease experiences of people with co-morbid HIV and chronic illness.
The Issue
There are about 6.4 million people living with HIV in South Africa (Shisana et al., 2014). South Africa has the largest public sector antiretroviral (ART) program in the world, providing HIV treatment to 2.4 million children and adults living with HIV (32% of the population) (Shisana et al., 2014). As a result of their expansive ART program, South Africans are now living longer with HIV; however, the success of this program has introduced a new health concern with the rise of co-morbid HIV and chronic illnesses (Bradshaw, Steyn, Levitt, & Nojilana, 2014).

About 16.5% of South…


Peer Support and HIV/AIDS: Research and Practice

Clayton Velicer, MPH

In advance of next week’s webinar (Thursday, January 30) on the use of Motivation Interviewing in peer support for persons living with HIV, this blog highlights some recent research and support programs for those living with HIV/AIDs.

Past Research Shows Benefits of Peer Support and Education

In research, there have been several positive findings for the role of peers in HIV prevention and for those living with HIV/AIDS. Medley and Colleagues conducted a systematic review that included 30 studies of peer education programs for HIV prevention. The author’s concluded the peer education interventions were significantly associated with increased HIV knowledge, reduced equipment sharing, and increased condom usage.

For those already living with HIV/AIDS, Simoni and Colleagues found that peer support had positive short-term effects on increasing medication adherence within an adult population in Seattle. Qualitative research by Marino and Colleagues reported…

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