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Engaging and Supporting Peers as Health Change Agents in Our Community

Peer engagement is vital to our agency’s core structure. Whether you are someone with lived experience in HIV, Hepatitis C, substance use, sex work, or any intersection of these identities, we offer opportunities for skill-building, support, leadership, and community involvement to help encourage and empower while meeting you where you’re at.

Key values and commitments of our peer program include:

  • Holistic respect and confidentiality at all levels.
  • Facilitating collaboration, open communication, information sharing, and shared decision making amongst peers and staff.
  • Building on individual skills, shared interests, and mutual needs.
  • Commitment to the promotion of primary prevention, treatment support, and stigma-free healthcare access in our community.

Peer Core Skills Training

Drawing on years of experience in HIV and Harm Reduction as well as Velsoft training courseware, peers are given the opportunity to build capacity through attending and facilitating core skills modules to people with lived experience in HIV, hepatitis C, sex work, and substance use. These trainings aim to provide peers the necessary skills in order to facilitate educational workshops in the community and/or prepare for working community placements.

Peer Core Skills Training series take place once every three months.

Certificate and take-home materials provided to all participants. Honorarium provided for peer facilitators.

Photo of graduates

Courseware includes topics such as:

  • HIV and Harm Reduction 101
  • Active Listening
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Facilitation
  • Public Speaking
  • Emotional Intelligence and more

Peer to Peer Support Group

Open to all men and trans men regardless of race, ability, or sexual orientation who have experience living with HIV or substance use. The group meets once a month. We explore topics such as loneliness, anxiety, relationships, happiness, self-esteem, setting goals and much more – depending on the group’s interest.

Although this is a group open to men and trans men only, if you identify as a woman and have interest in a “Peer to Peer” group for women and trans women, please reach out to us.

Turning to One Another (TTOA)

A group for anyone living with HIV to come together and meet to share knowledge and experiences and discuss emerging and current topics related to HIV. We focus on team building through the planning and execution of community educational events on topics such as: HIV Disclosure, Undetectable=Untransmittable (U=U), Family Awareness and more. TTOA group members also use this space to constructively discuss and provide feedback on agency programs, activities and direction.

This group runs bi-weekly on Thursdays at 1:30pm, in-person and via Zoom (as needed).


Educational Workshops

Peer engagement provides education and activities within our priority communities (people with lived experience in HIV, Hepatitis C, sex trade work and/or substance use) to share knowledge shaped by their own lived experiences and interests. Topics vary based on peer interest but may include recovery, stigma, mindfulness, homelessness, boundaries, nutrition, self-care and more.

These workshops take place at PPCS and locations within the community. Facilitators must have completed a series of Peer Core Skills Training to participate.

Workshops take place whenever meaningful interest from a peer facilitator is identified.

Educational Workshops

Community Placements

Community Placements provide opportunities for peers who have completed the Core Skills Training to apply their knowledge, abilities and experience at a partner organization. Peers are able to give back to our community through a contract placement complete with hourly wages covered by PPCS.

The goal is to raise awareness within the communities that our agency serves and promote culturally responsive and culturally safe prevention, testing, treatment and care services regardless of anyone’s diagnosis or lived experience.

Honorariums are provided to peer facilitators and panelists. Refreshments provided at all groups and workshops. For more information, to register, or to host (a) peer(s) at your community-based organization, please contact one of our peer engagement coordinators at: 519-973-0222 ext 121 or 519-973-0222 ext 123.

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