The Importance of Peers

A report back on the HIV&AIDS Opening Plenary.

This morning I was reminded of the importance of peers, not only in efforts to end HIV but more broadly, in providing quality sexual health care to all of our patients and in research.

We were told that science alone cannot end HIV and that while people living with or at risk of acquiring HIV remain marginalised, criminalised or stigmatised we will never end the epidemic.

Perhaps part of the solution for the marginalised, criminalised or stigmatised lies with peers like Sarah Feagan from NAPWHA who spoke passionately about the importance of the role of peers and peer led organisations in patient care.

Teddy Cook and Shoshana Rosenberg introduced us to The Inaugural Australian Trans and Gender Diverse Sexual Health Survey.

The study recruited much higher numbers of participants than has ever been seen in previous studies providing much needed information about the health and well being of Trans and Gender Diverse people in Australia. They made the important point that the main reason for the high participation rate seemed to lie with the fact that the majority of the research team where themselves Trans and Gender Diverse people. I look forward to seeing more peer led research in the future.

Author bio: Suzanne is a GP who has worked extensively in rural and remote Australia as well as in Sydney with a special interest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. She is currently working towards a Fellowship of Sexual Health Medicine and is working as a Sexual Health Advanced Trainee at Sydney Sexual Health Centre.