The SHE programme: a European initiative to improve the care of women living with HIV

  • Johnson M
  • Miralles C
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Abstract

Purpose of the study: In Europe, the number of women living with HIV is increasing, but data are limited and guidelines scarce. HIV care poses unique challenges for women living with HIV and their healthcare providers. The SHE programme is a response to these unmet needs. SHE supports women living with HIV to feel empowered to get the most from their healthcare services and provides education to healthcare providers. The objective of SHE is to improve the quality of life of women living with HIV. Methods: SHE is run by a community faculty and a scientific faculty. Both faculties include women living with HIV and healthcare professionals. SHE scientific faculty reviewed available data pertaining to HIV in women. Data gaps were validated and prioritised at a scientific meeting held in June 2011, attended by 80 invited delegates from 13 European countries. SHE community faculty held advisory workshops to examine the challenges faced by women living with HIV. Following these activities, medical and community toolkits have been developed. To integrate scientific and community activities, 'SHE units' are being launched at specific sites. Each SHE unit will be a multidisciplinary team working to improve and promote best clinical practice. Summary of results: The scientific faculty identified five key topics: 1. situation of women with HIV in Europe; 2. challenges of testing; 3. antiretroviral treatment (ART); 4. women with HIV of childbearing age; and 5. long-term treatment. The highest priority gaps were guidance on the management of women living with HIV, coordination of registries of ART in pregnant women, and more genderspecific data. An educational 'medical toolkit' has been developed including an overview of current data on these topics and a summary of continuing data gaps. A peer support toolkit has been developed for women living with HIV who wish to facilitate peer support sessions. The toolkit includes topics such as diagnosis, accessing healthcare, relationships, and HIV treatment, and was launched at the 2011 IAS Conference. The toolkit is online at http://www. shetoshe.org and being translated into seven European languages. SHE units have been established in France, Germany and Portugal. Additional units are planned across Europe. Conclusions: SHE is a successful ongoing programme providing education and support in clinical and community settings to improve the care of women living with HIV. SHE is integrated to reflect both patient and physician perspectives.

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Johnson, M., & Miralles, C. (2012). The SHE programme: a European initiative to improve the care of women living with HIV. Journal of the International AIDS Society, 15(6(Suppl 4)). https://doi.org/10.7448/ias.15.6.18369

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