Lived experience crucial in peer support

The following two African men explained the benefit of HIV-specific groups:

“Here, you get a lot of moral support … White, black, anything, I try to interact with everybody, because we’re the same status, we’re one family here. We’re the same. You make friends, which is very important. You sit down, chat – even chatting for one minute, it’s enough. They’re there for you. I love to come, I don’t want to miss, and when I do miss, I feel I’m missing something.” [African man, fifties, long-term diagnoses]

“Like in a group here now, you know that everybody coming here, we’re all in the same boat, and you can talk about it, but on the street, you can’t ask. You can’t just say to somebody, unless you met them in the clinic. You can’t know. It’s very difficult to know, very difficult.” [African man, fifties, diagnosed in the past decade]

When asked why they attended HIV groups, participants most often listed ‘emotional support’, ‘practical information’ (e.g. about disability benefits or immigration applications) and ‘meeting people’, followed by ‘social activities’ and ‘spending time in a safe space’.