Created by the South Side HIV Program at the University of Chicago, Living Positively is an HIV/STI prevention program supporting Chicago's South Side community.
Our team of Peer Advocates are HIV-positive young adults trained to provide sexual health education, counseling & testing. Peer Advocates also support people living with HIV through peer mentorship and counseling in our clinics. Through the lens of their personal experience as people living with HIV, Peer Advocates work to empower young people to make good decisions about their sexual health. Whether speaking in schools, community based organizations, or religious communities, Living Positively Peer Advocates put a face to HIV/AIDS by showing what it is to live with this chronic disease.
Community HIV/STI Education & Testing
Peer Advocates are available to present to school, community, or religious groups looking to learn more about HIV/STI prevention and treatment. Our 50-minute, free presentation includes the following topics:
- Sex Ed 101. Learn the basic virology of HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
- Prevention Methods. Get the facts on how you can and can't get HIV/STIs. Learn tips on condom negotiation and hear about where to get free condoms.
- Testing Options. Peer Advocates will stress the importance of regular HIV/STI testing and provide information on where and when people can get free, confidential testing.
- Meet Someone with HIV. Each audience member will leave knowing someone with HIV. Peer Advocates will talk about the challenges of this chronic disease and stress the importance of community support and education.
Peer Advocates also provide free, confidential testing at various University of Chicago clinics throughout Chicago's South Side. For larger groups, onsite testing through our Mobile Care Van can be arranged in coordination with a formal group presentation. 20-minute Health Screenings include a comprehensive risk assessment and a rapid HIV test. In the case of a positive test, the individual will immediately be connected with a case manager and will be linked into care by the University of Chicago.
Helping People Living with HIV/AIDS to Live Positively
Once connected to care, patients are connected to a Peer Advocate who will provide counseling and peer support. This long-term mentorship increases the likelihood, not only of linkage to care, but also of ongoing retention in care. Our goal is to not only improve the health of people living with HIV, but to encourage safe sex practices to prevent the spread of infection.