- The SHE network continues to expand across Europe to empower and educate
women living with HIV and their health care providers
- More than 60 SHE units, multidisciplinary teams based in HIV clinics and
dedicated to women with HIV, have been implemented in 18 countries
'SHE' (Strong, HIV positive, Empowered Women) experts and Bristol-Myers Squibb hosted on Friday, 27 June a 'SHE Day' in Paris, a yearly meeting that brings together a diverse group of experts including women living with HIV and physicians to discuss how the situation for women can be improved in Europe. SHE is the first integrated peer support and medical education programme aimed at addressing the unmet needs of women living with HIV and the health care providers involved in their care, in Europe.
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Research shows that women represent one third of new diagnoses of HIV in Europe.[i] Even though prognoses have improved, HIV remains complex, providing unique challenges for women living with HIV and their health care providers.[i] SHE aims to address those challenges by offering educational and scientific tools for use in the clinical and community settings.
"Four years ago, women living with HIV and physicians came together to discuss how we can improve the lives of women living with HIV across Europe," said Annette Piecha, SHE community co-chair and member of Kompetenznetz HIV/AIDS e.V., Germany. "The result was the SHE programme. No woman should ever feel alone or isolated - resources such as SHE are needed to empower and unite all of us. During SHE Day, we exchanged our experiences and discussed what else should be done for women living with HIV."
SHE: A Growing Network
Since its launch, the SHE programme has been rolled out in 18 European countries* with involvement of more than 200 HIV physicians and key patient community groups. Over the past year, the SHE faculty and Bristol-Myers Squibb organised more than 50 peer support workshops to empower and inform women. Additionally, there have been 20 medical education meetings, where physicians were able to present best practices for the clinical care of women.
SHE seeks to promote the best scientific practices and provide women with an optimal and easily accessible health care infrastructure. To date, more than 60 SHE units have been established in HIV clinics and the community settings.
"Each country has an opportunity to adapt the programme content and format based on their local needs," said Celia Miralles, SHE community co-chair, Internal Medicine Department, Hospital Xeral, Vigo, Spain. "For example, in Poland, an anonymous SHE helpline was launched. At the Brussels SHE unit, there is a monthly SHE corner, where women waiting for their follow up appointments are provided with support and information. In Spain, I had the opportunity to implement a SHE unit in my hospital and also collaborate with SEISIDA to issue an evaluation report on the programme."
SHE Resources Tailored to Women's Needs
The SHE units are supported by a vast array of resources, including peer support and medical toolkits.
"The scientific work was an important part of SHE day, and the faculty remains dedicated to exploring the current landscape for women, identifying areas where additional knowledge is needed and preparing educational materials for HIV health care providers," said Professor Margaret Johnson, SHE scientific co-chair, HIV Clinic, Royal Free Hospital, London, U.K.
*Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom
The faculty also discussed community materials, with a special focus on the peer support toolkit, which is available and adapted for local country use. The new UK section dedicated to women and migration was presented at the meeting. The UK faculty found that there are higher rates of HIV infection among migrants, compared to national populations[ii] with women being at greater risk than men due to biological, social and cultural factors.[ii],[iii]
About the SHE Programme
SHE (Strong, HIV positive, Empowered women) aims to improve the care and quality of life of women living with HIV through empowerment and education. In addition to supplying new scientific and educational tools to women living with HIV, SHE encourages building a dialogue with physicians and sharing experiences with other women living with HIV. Steered independently by a faculty involving women personally living with HIV, health care providers, advocacy group members, and policymakers from ten European countries, SHE is funded and organised by Bristol-Myers Squibb.
For more information about the SHE programme, visit http://www.SHEtoSHE.org.
Bristol-Myers Squibb's Commitment to Virology
For over 20 years, Bristol-Myers Squibb has worked collaboratively with the virology community to help meet the needs of patients living with HIV, HBV and HCV.
Bristol-Myers Squibb supports a number of scientific and educational programmes within the virology community around the world that encompass disease education, disease awareness and sharing of best practices. In addition to SHE, these include PATH B(R) (Patients and professionals acting together for hepatitis B), a joint initiative between hepatitis patient groups and hepatologists to provide comprehensive information and support for patients with chronic hepatitis B and Partnering for Cure, a pan-European scientific initiative supporting breakthrough research and facilitating greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing with the virology community.
Additionally, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation's philanthropic and educational programmes, such as Secure the Future(R) and Delivering Hope(R) aim to support people living with HIV in Africa and with viral hepatitis in Asia, through numerous private-public partnerships and community based projects.
i. Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID): "Women Living With HIV Are Part Of Response To HIV/AIDS - Challenging The Action Plan On HIV/AIDS In The EU And Neighbouring Countries: 2014-2016," 30 April 2014. Available at http://www.awid.org/News-Analysis/Announcements2/Women-living-with-HIV-are-part-of-response-to-HIV-AIDS-challenging-the-Action-Plan-on-HIV-AIDS-in-the-EU-and-neighbouring-countries-2014-2016 . Accessed June 2014.
ii. International Organization for Migration (IOM). Maternal and Child Healthcare for Immigrant Populations, 2009. Available at http://www.migrant-health-europe.org/files/Maternal%20and%20Child%20Care_Background%20Paper(1).pdf . Accessed June 2014.
iii. World Health Organization (WHO). Gender inequalities and HIV, 2014. Available from: http://www.who.int/gender/hiv_aids/en/index.html. Accessed June 2014.
Media: Joanna Ritter, 30 Jun. (0) - 1 5883 6509, firstname.lastname@example.org