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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

Georgia State Training Program Wins Elton John AIDS Foundation Support

The School of Public Health at Georgia State University will train a new group of community members to connect people living with HIV/AIDS to medical care, thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

[Photo: Dr. Donna Smith]

The Linkage to Care Peer Guide Training Program, run by the School of Public Health’s Community Research Center, trains guides to reach people in metro Atlanta who are HIV-positive but have fallen out of medical care. After completing 10 weeks of instruction and another 10 weeks of supervised internships, the guides are placed with local AIDS service organizations.

The demographics of the program’s peer guides mirror the populations most affected by HIV in Atlanta. The latest group selected for training is made up of people ages 21 to 35 who are HIV-positive transgendered women or HIV-positive gay or bisexual men.

“Peer guides are extremely important because of their ability to establish rapport and build trust with clients,” said program director Dr. Donna Smith. “Many peer guides have shared experiences with their clients and have overcome some of the same challenges they face, such as dealing with stigma, discrimination, and/or having an HIV- positive status.”

The program graduated the first group of peer guides in May 2015. The renewed funding from the Elton John AIDS Foundation is part of the foundation’s latest series of grants totaling more than $5.4 million.

Learn more about the Linkage to Care Peer Guide Training Program.