Serodiscordant couples workshops: psychological support, counseling and capacity building
M.V. Zalazar1, M. Flighelman2, R. Pemoff2
1Fundacion Huesped, Epidemiology and Prevention, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2Fundacion Huesped, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Issues: Over the last decades, serodiscordant couples have faced a number of challenges: safe sex measures, medical treatments, therapies, mutual support and hope, but also new challenges for their intimacy and family planning. An approach to these factors is substantial for those couples where both members face a relevant problem related not only to the epidemic of the HIV/AIDS but also to the relationship itself.
Description: One of the primary assistance that help serodiscordant couples to confront their difficulties is the professional psychological support, based on a workshop strategy, where psychologists help the groups to share experiences and reflections that allow them to disclose different problems related to their special situation.
Lessons learned: Although members of the groups referred to know and use always condoms, practical difficulties are not often recognized in the medical consultation. The peer group allows a secure and prejudice free environment where members of the couple are able to express practical difficulties and errors in the implementation of prevention methods. Couples can see others in the same situation and change their believes about being the only ones who share this problem. Hearing experiences with peers facilitates dialogue within the couple as well as disclosure of HIV status to other people.
Next steps: Currently, more than 40 serodiscordant couples have participated on these workshops at Fundacion Huesped and there is a growing demand for this kind of assistance. We are looking for the continuity and replication of this group, a research activity and documentation that is not being done appropriately and the possibility of training other psychologists that could replicate this strategy with other groups of couples throughout the country.
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