Being a Health Buddy in the midst of a pandemic

For the third year, Hivpoint is continuing its Health Buddy Program. The goal of the program is to raise awareness of HIV and sexual health in different communities in Finland. The Health Buddies spread knowledge about sexual health, including HIV and sexually transmitted infections, in migrant and refugee communities using methods of their own liking. Read more about the Health Buddy program form here.

First thoughts

“When embarking on my Health Buddy journey in 2020, I had no idea what to expect and never imagined the things I would learn, the fun I would have and the new friendships I would foster. I initially signed up to be a Health Buddy because I was curious to learn that HIV and AIDS was still a relevant topic applicable in our present day. Growing up and coming from an African country I was familiar with the basics or so I thought.

During the Health Buddy training I was surprised to learn that some of the things I thought were true actually weren’t and this is something that I often came across in many of the workshops I had given. Despite all the access we have to resources and knowledge there is still a huge amount of misconceptions surrounding HIV.

It simply highlighted what Hivpoint is tirelessly working to combat. People are misinformed about the HIV and AIDS. People who are infected need support from educated professionals. Each person can do something to reduce the stigma of HIV.

Being a Health Buddy during the pandemic came with additional challenges. Face to face meetings were no longer possible last year. We had to embrace all forms of new online platforms. As all things new, it took some time to get used too but we persevered and conquered.”

Health Buddy program 2021

“This year as the pandemic lingers on, the Health Buddy open days and training were also conducted online and it no longer felt so strange. I strongly believe that when people are committed to a cause they will find away.

This year has once again attracted a group of awesome, inspirational people from across the globe with a common goal. To break down stereotypes and provide access to reliable information. With this in mind we shall press forward finding new creative ways to achieve our common goal despite the lingering pandemic. 

Being a Health Buddy not only changes the lives of the people who attend your workshops, it also changes your life. You gain access to a community of Health Buddies ready to support you. Once a Health Buddy always a Health Buddy. I consider myself fortunate and am grateful to be part of this wonderful initiative by Hivpoint. #healthbuddy4life”

Allison Abdile
Hivpoint´s Health Buddy 2020&2021

Allison is one of the Health Buddies who work for Hivpoint, the Finnish HIV Foundation. Her amazing work as a Health Buddy has been inspiring and truly significant.