World AIDS Day: Support Groups for People Living with HIV

December 1 is World AIDS Day, the day on which we pause to think about the millions of people affected by the HIV pandemic. As the date approaches, we will post a series of entries focusing on our HIV and AIDS programs around the world. Some of the posts will be technical in nature, underscoring the scientific and programmatic foundations of CRS’ work.

Since we began our first HIV and AIDS project in the 1980s, CRS has become a leader in viewing the disease and its impact holistically, using the Integral Human Development (IHD) framework as a tool to understand the multiple levels of human development and related issues. The IHD, which is derived from Catholic Social Teaching (CST), provides a framework to assist people to in leading full and productive lives, meeting their basic physical needs in a sustainable manner, while living with dignity in a just and peaceful social environment.

In this spirit, Guidelines for Establishing and Operating Successful Support Groups for People Living with HIV (Fanelli C. & Moyo A., 2008) was created to give guidance for those seeking to initiate or improve existing support groups for people living with HIV.

This invaluable guide reminds us “people living with HIV form support groups to give and receive emotional, social and spiritual support. They also form support groups to develop and sustain positive strategies for living with the virus and to strengthen their knowledge about HIV and AIDS. The group is a place where people living with HIV can share experiences confidentially, gain self-confidence, make friends and develop a public voice.”

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