Adolescents living with HIV are at an increased risk of mental illness. Over 15% of young women and 5% of young men aged 15-24 are living with HIV in South Africa, but do not receive adequate psychosocial support. Our Khuluma approach addresses this issue through digital support groups, which have proven to have a positive impact on their lives.
We have developed a mentor programme for our participants who were involved in the Khuluma initiative, to train them to provide the same support to other adolescents living with the same condition as them. We provide our peer mentors with basic training on HIV, facilitation skills and a training tool to enable them to run future support groups for adolescents.
The mentor programme not only gives our mentors a sense of belonging but also an open space to confidently communicate the issues they have faced, and continue to face, with other adolescents who are living with HIV and share similar experiences. Our mentors are able to facilitate support groups that they were once a part of and act as HIV advocates.
Our mentors have played a vital role in the recruitment process of participants for our other support group initiatives and have been very successful in helping to generate discussions in the groups.
Our peer mentors have been involved in many of the Foundation’s collaborative initiatives, including:
Main photo by Daniel Masetla