The goal of the Health Buddy program is to raise awareness of HIV and sexual health in communities that we, here at Hivpoint, are not currently reaching. Sexuality and sexual rights are sensitive topics and hard to discuss openly, but it is essential to talk about them in order to secure sexual health for everyone. In the program, Hivpoint trains volunteers as health buddies and sexual health advocates who organize sexual health workshops in different communities. It is a great opportunity to participate in HIV prevention work, share knowledge about safe sex and about Hivpoint and our services.
The results of the Health Buddy program 2022
In 2022 we had one menthor and five health buddies with diverse backgrounds. They organized 22 workshops. Most of the workshops were held face to face. All together 218 people participated in the workshops.
- 72% of the participants told they got new information about how to use a condom.
- 81% of the participants told they got new information about HIV.
- 58% of the participants told they got new information about sexual rights.
- 83% of the participants said the workshop made it easier for them to get an HIV test if needed.
We asked how big of an impact the workshop had on the people’s lives that participated the workshops and the average of the answers was 4,1 (on a scale from 1 to 5)! So we can truly say that the Health Buddy program is effective!
Comments from the participants
This is how some of the participants of the workshops commented after the workshops:
“I wouldn’t have imagined that I can openly talk about sex in a group and learn new things.”
“I have learned that there are sexual rights even in marriage.”
“My mum taught me that condoms have holes they will not protect me from hiv so I must not have sex until I get married. I don’t use condoms a lot but from today I will use condoms.”
“I had no idea the lubricant brings extra safety when using condom!”
“How amazing someone living with HIV can live a normal life!”
How do the Health buddies 2022 describe the program?
“I meet new people and learnt new things. I and I feel that the message we brought out is very important.”
“It’s an extremely important program that takes information to people who are not always targeted by campaigns, and people who often ignore basic knowledge.
“This kind of education is of paramount importance to enhance prevention and spread trustworthy information to communities, directly influencing the end of stigma.”
“The sense of giving back to community is the best feeling that I always receive from being a health buddy. It provided the opportunity to reach people of different backgrounds and make them aware about their sexual health and rights.”
Do you want to become a Health Buddy in 2023?
Every year we train again new health buddies to promote sexual health. In 2023 the main goal of the project is to reach migrant women and people coming from Ukraine. Next training will be in Helsinki in the spring 2023. When applying you don’t need to have prior training in sexual health issues, interest in sexual education and willingness to learn is the key. We train all our health buddies before they start conducting workshops independently. The health buddies will get a payment for their work.
Read more information about the Health Buddy program and how to apply from here>>