Group Learning Session (GLS) – PAFPI Psychosocial Intervention (PSI) Program as a Critical and Vital Help Response to PLHIV!

PAFPI Psychosocial Intervention (PSI) Program offers a valuable and critical help response to people living with HIV. One effective component of this program is the group learning session (GLS), which provides a safe and supportive environment for individuals living with HIV to come together, learn from each other, and develop coping skills to better manage their condition.

During the GLS, participants can have the opportunity to discuss various topics related to HIV, such as treatment options, medication adherence, mental health issues, and social support. Facilitators are present to provide information, resources, and tools that can help individuals navigate the challenges they face while living with HIV.

In addition to providing education and support, the GLS also helps reduce feelings of isolation and stigma. By connecting participants with others who are also living with HIV, a sense of community and mutual support is fostered, which can be invaluable in promoting overall well-being and mental health.

It is important to recognize the empowering nature of group learning sessions. By participating in these sessions, individuals living with HIV can take control of their health, build resilience, and improve their quality of life. The combination of education, empowerment, and social support offered through the GLS makes it a valuable psychosocial intervention for individuals living with HIV.

Group Learning Session

Simply put, the GLS is a structured and interactive learning session designed to increase knowledge and understanding of HIV. It follows a well-defined module developed by a pool of HIV industry experts from PAFPI.

As we conduct the GLS, especially at the beginning, there are some basic and non-negotiable critical agendas that need to be addressed:

1. Introduction to HIV: This includes information on what HIV is, how it is transmitted, and how it affects the body.
2. Risk factors for contracting HIV and ways to prevent transmission.
3. Addressing myths and misconceptions about HIV.
4. Discussing the stigma and discrimination faced by individuals living with HIV.
5. Providing information on available treatment options and stressing the importance of early diagnosis.
6. Highlighting the resources and support services available for individuals living with HIV.

What is the Process of GLS?

The GLS process can vary from session to session. However, the following GLS process is recommended:

Presentation: A facilitator will provide information on the current module for sharing and discussion. Typically, all of the modules will include a reiteration of what HIV is, including facts about transmission, prevention methods, and treatment options. This will be followed by a topic-related Q&A session for participants to ask any questions they may have.

Group Discussion: Participants will be encouraged to share their own knowledge and experiences with HIV and the current module topic, as well as any myths or misconceptions they have heard or believe. The facilitator will provide accurate information and clarify any misunderstandings.

Feedback Session: Feedback session with individual participants and HIV counselors. Participants and HIV counselors will have the opportunity to openly talk with each other. Participants will be able to share how they have been coping mentally and emotionally with their individual lives and will be asked to provide feedback on the recent session and suggestions for future group learning sessions on HIV.

Wrap-up: Wrap-up with the facilitator. The session will end with a review of key points discussed and a final Q&A session. Participants will be asked to provide feedback on the session and suggestions for future group learning sessions on HIV.

Conclusion: By the end of the group learning session, participants should have a better understanding of HIV, including how it is transmitted, how to prevent it, and how to support individuals living with the virus. They will also be more informed about available resources and support services in their communities.

Additional step process to consider:

Sharing and discussing virtue cards: Virtue cards are a powerful tool for self-reflection and personal growth. They provide a structured way for us to explore various virtues and qualities that we can strive to embody in our lives. In this step, participants will have the opportunity to share and discuss virtue cards with each other. Through this process, they can deepen their understanding of these virtues and learn from one another’s perspectives and experiences.

Role-playing: Participants will be divided into groups and given scenarios related to HIV, such as how to disclose their HIV status to a partner or friend. They will then engage in role-playing activities, acting out the scenarios and discussing different approaches to handling these situations.

Sharing resources: The facilitator will provide information about local organizations, support groups, and health clinics that offer HIV testing and treatment services. Participants will also be encouraged to share any resources they are aware of in their own communities.

Are GLS modules important for a learning session?

HIV group learning session modules are crucial because they provide structured and comprehensive information on HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and care. These modules help participants understand the importance of HIV testing, knowing their HIV status, and taking steps to protect themselves and others from HIV transmission. Additionally, the modules educate participants about the various ways HIV can be transmitted, dispel myths and misconceptions about the virus, and promote understanding of the realities of living with HIV.

By actively participating in the HIV group learning session modules, participants can stay informed about the latest advancements in HIV treatment and care. They can also develop an understanding of the importance of adhering to medication and acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about their health. These sessions also provide a platform for participants to ask questions, share their experiences, and receive support from both their peers and staff.

HIV group learning session modules are an essential tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS. They empower individuals to take control of their health and well-being, reduce the number of new infections, and improve the lives of those living with HIV.

What modules are included in PAFPI GLS?

Module 1: HIV 101

The HIV 101 discussion covers the following topics:
1. Definition of HIV-AIDS
2. Modes of HIV transmission
3. Methods of HIV prevention
4. HIV treatment options
5. Differentiating between HIV and AIDS
6. Understanding STIs and OIs (sexually transmitted diseases and opportunistic infections)
7. Different types of STIs and OIs
8. Transmission and prevention of STIs and OIs
9. Discussion of Republic Act 11166
10. Available HIV-AIDS and STI-free services for people living with HIV (PLHIV)

Module 2: HIV Nutrition

Proper nutrition is essential for individuals living with HIV. A balanced diet can support the immune system, mitigate medication side effects, and enhance overall well-being. A healthy diet plays a significant role in managing HIV and maintaining a strong immune system.

Module 3: HIV Disclosure – Importance and Challenges

HIV disclosure is a crucial aspect of living with HIV. It involves informing sexual partners, family members, friends, and healthcare providers about one’s HIV status. Disclosing one’s HIV status can provide support, access to treatment, and help prevent the spread of the virus. However, there are challenges associated with HIV disclosure that can make it difficult for individuals to openly discuss their status.

Disclosing one’s HIV status can be a complex and challenging process for individuals living with HIV. Various factors, such as fear of discrimination, rejection, stigma, and potential negative consequences, can influence a person’s decision to disclose their status.

Module 4: Importance of ARV Adherence

Adherence to HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) is crucial for managing the virus and maintaining overall health for individuals living with HIV. ARV adherence refers to how well a person follows their prescribed treatment plan for antiretroviral medication used in HIV/AIDS treatment. Adherence is vital in controlling the virus and preventing drug resistance.

Module 5: RA 11166

Republic Act 11166, also known as the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act, is a law enacted in 2018. Its purpose is to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS in the Philippines. The law provides comprehensive health care services, information, and support to individuals living with HIV/AIDS. It also aims to eliminate discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS and promote awareness and education about the disease. Additionally, the law mandates the creation of a national HIV and AIDS program and establishes a National HIV/AIDS Commission to oversee its implementation.

Module 6: U=U

The concept of “Undetectable equals Untransmittable” (U=U) states that if a person living with HIV has an undetectable viral load due to effective antiretroviral treatment, they cannot transmit the virus to sexual partners. This concept is supported by scientific research and is important for reducing HIV stigma and promoting safe, healthy relationships.

Undetectable refers to the inability to detect the presence of the virus in someone’s body, while untransmittable means that the virus cannot be transmitted from one person to another. Both terms imply a lack of ability or capability, but they refer to slightly different concepts.

Module 7: Mental Health

Mental health is crucial for people living with HIV, as they face not only the physical effects of the virus but also emotional and psychological challenges. HIV can be highly stigmatized, leading to feelings of shame, guilt, anxiety, depression, and isolation. People with HIV may also experience discrimination and judgment from others, which further impacts their mental health. It is important for individuals living with HIV to seek support from healthcare providers, mental health professionals, support groups, and loved ones to address mental health concerns. Engaging in self-care practices, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and staying connected with others can also help improve mental health outcomes for individuals living with HIV.

Last Module: Kamustahan

The Kamustahan activity, also known as meet and greet, with HIV counsellors serves several important purposes:

(1) Building trust and rapport: Meeting HIV counsellors in a casual setting helps individuals feel more comfortable and establish a trusting relationship. This makes it easier for them to share their concerns and seek support.

(2) Providing information and education: The meet and greet activity provides an opportunity for HIV counsellors to share accurate information about HIV, prevention methods, treatment options, and available support services. This helps dispel myths and misconceptions about HIV and empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their health.

(3) Offering emotional support: Living with HIV can be challenging and isolating. Having access to a supportive network of counsellors and peers is incredibly beneficial. The meet and greet activity allow individuals to connect with others who may be going through similar experiences, providing emotional support and advice.

(4) Encouraging engagement in care: By meeting with HIV counsellors and learning about available support services, individuals are more likely to engage in regular medical care, adhere to their treatment plan, and access mental health support. This improves their overall health outcomes and quality of life.

The meet and greet activity with HIV counsellors play a key role in supporting individuals living with HIV, promoting positive health behaviors, and reducing stigma and discrimination associated with the virus.

Wrapping it up

PAFPI Psychosocial Intervention (PSI) Program, specifically the Group Learning Sessions (GLS), plays a crucial role in providing support, education, and empowerment to individuals living with HIV. The GLS sessions offer valuable knowledge, coping skills, peer support, and a sense of community. The modules covered in the GLS address key aspects of HIV, such as prevention, treatment, nutrition, disclosure, adherence, laws and policies, the U=U concept, and mental health.

Through structured and interactive sessions, individuals living with HIV can enhance their understanding of the virus, learn how to navigate challenges, and access available resources and support services. By actively participating in these sessions, individuals can take steps toward improving their overall well-being and quality of life.

In conclusion, the PAFPI PSI Program, particularly the GLS, serves as a valuable tool in providing psychosocial support and care for individuals living with HIV. It promotes education, empowerment, and social connection, ultimately contributing to the holistic health and well-being of PLHIV.