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Curtin University
Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health

ACON and Positive Life (NSW) HIV Positive Peer Support Review (2009-2010)


Chief Investigators

  • Dr Graham Brown (WACHPR, Curtin University)


  • AIDS Council of New South Wales (ACON), Positive Life New South Wales ($17,890)

Project Aims

This participatory action research project aims to:

  • Support the review of peer support models and programs conducted by ACON and Positive Life NSW;
  • Review the effectiveness of peer support programs for People with HIV; and
  • Support the development of effective evaluation tools to evaluate peer support programs for People with HIV.


ACON and Positive Life NSW have a range of peer and social support programs for people living with HIV that have been developed over many years from a mix of concurrent and pilot project funding and different sources of funding. During the past decade there have been substantial changes in the experiences of people living with HIV and a diversifying of the needs, types and role of peer support.

Project Overview

This participatory research project aimed to review current and potential models of peer support for people with HIV, develop a clearer understanding of the program objectives, and develop monitoring and evaluation approaches that were credible, practical and useable in the reality of the limited resources. The participatory research consisted of workshops with peer support staff of both organisations, a series of focus groups and online surveys of people living with HIV about peer support and health promotion programs.

Associated Projects

This project is part of a broader research program to build both the evidence base for HIV prevention policy and planning, particularly in the area of peer and social influence, as well as the capacity of the HIV sector to sustain evaluation as a core component of an effective and integrated HIV response.


Brown, G. (2010) Positive Peer Support Programs, Meanings and Experience, Western Australian Centre for Health Promotion Research, Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Perth, Western Australia

Download Positive Peer Review report.