OVERCOMING CHALLENGES FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV POSITIVE PARTNERS
Q: For you, what are the most interesting findings from the partner data?
I found the responses on emotional support and its role in decision making, especially regarding antiretroviral therapy, very interesting. One of the most interesting findings in the survey is the difference in emotional support, information and education available to partners who themselves are living with HIV compared to partners who are HIV-negative. Key statistics from the Partner Data report show that although 63% (157/250) of partners feel as though they are heavily involved in the support of their partner living with HIV, those living with HIV can more easily access different services and discuss worries and doubts with their doctor or community.1
The survey results highlight that we still need to improve the educational and emotional support provided to couples where one of them is HIV-negative. Regular updates can help to make partners feel fully engaged and assist them with supporting their HIV-positive partners. Making the right choices and discussing with doctors the most appropriate treatment options can have a significant impact on their lives together.
Q: Over a third (93/250) of partners say that they feel as though they lack the information needed to help their partners with their HIV.2 How can we address this?
Although satisfactory progress is being made, we still have a way to go. We need to open new channels of communications between partners and doctors as well as facilitate better access to non-governmental organisations, counsellors, peers, and social and community services. Doctors should be aware of all these resources and inform partners to help build a broad support network between healthcare professionals, social services and the HIV community.
Key conclusions from the data
- The survey results show that it is necessary to improve communication between doctors, people living with HIV and their partners
- We still have a way to go to reinforce the educational and emotional support needed to ensure that people living with HIV feel fully engaged and supported
- Information and empowerment regarding treatment options and potential side effects can only come from an open and trustworthy dialogue
- Being informed and aware, either as a person living with HIV or as the supportive partner alongside them, is essential for making the right choices and living a full life with HIV