Supporting Each Other Through HIV: Peer Support by SafeLink

Olga SydorchukBlog

Helping others facing HIV has been a journey filled with different stories of people reaching SafeLink for support. Referrals, often facilitated by SAC (Southern Alberta Clinic) or The Centre for Newcomers, come through diverse channels – emails, phone calls drop ins, and are often unfamiliar with our Peer Support Program, its essence and impact it can have on their lives.

Our main mission here is to let people know – they are not alone. In this unique community there’s someone to talk to, someone who understands the intricacies of their journey with HIV.

The beauty of peer support lies in its versatility; not everyone is comfortable in large group settings, and one-on-one navigation becomes a beacon of comfort and understanding.

For many peers, stigma acts as a barrier, hindering them from seeking the help they need. In our peer meetings we address HIV stigma issues as well as the specific needs for sexual education and prevention practices.

The significance of peer support becomes even more evident when considering immigration requirements, particularly those related to HIV. We’ve been able to disseminate knowledge and resources, enriching the lives of those we connect with.

Our vision extends beyond individual support. We aspire to increase awareness of HIV and other STIs within the broader community. Our goal for the next three years is to foster a support system that transcends age, gender, race, and sexual orientation, embracing everyone on their journey to improved well-being.

In this ever-evolving landscape of peer support not only do we break down barriers but also build bridges of understanding and resilience. We have a shared purpose – to make a positive impact on the lives of those touched by HIV, fostering a community of strength, support, and compassion.

If you have any questions or would like to share your story, please feel free to reach out.

Together, we are stronger.