HIV. Engagement. Adherence. Together

H.E.A.T is a peer-led program that uses Motivational Interviewing to assist individuals with retention in medical care and medication adherence. H.E.A.T helps you identify some of the social determinants that may impact health.

Our program serves in various roles as part of care teams in medical and social service settings, working to improve and enhance the lives of those living with HIV. Our education takes place in small groups or through individual contact in a variety of settings such as churches, community-based organizations, clinics, hospitals, on the street, in a shelter, or wherever people gather. Our peers are also involved in community work such as outreach and education, participation on HIV advisory and planning council committees, and speakers’ bureaus.

Our peers’ specific tasks and objectives are uniquely positioned to provide insight and support to HIV-positive individuals. As a part of a multidisciplinary team, peers can facilitate client-provider communication and provide a sense of how other individuals experience HIV diagnosis and treatment. Peers may be better able than professionals to perceive misunderstandings and barriers to client-provider communication. Because their interactions with clients are based on empathy and shared experience, and because they frequently have more open access to clients, peers may glean more information about actual and potential challenges for clients and may also communicate the health care team’s messages to clients most effectively. 

Regardless of how peers are used, it is essential to define their roles, responsibilities, and interactions with clients. Because the job skills and activities entailed in peer work are different in nature from more traditional professional positions, it is necessary to be more explicit in defining peer roles, responsibilities, and activities. Defining a clear role for peers in the agency can also help to avoid overlapping or duplication of responsibilities with other members of the health care team such as case managers.

  • The roles and responsibilities of peers can vary widely depending on the focus of the organization or program. Peer roles can include:
  • Engaging and supporting HIV-positive persons in the management. of the disease, including being adherent to medications.
  • Providing emotional and practical support to clients.
  • Supporting clients to practice healthy behaviors.

What are Social Determinants?

Social determinants of health are conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.

Risk factors for physical and mental health

What is Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative, goal-oriented style of communication with particular attention to change. It is designed to strengthen personal motivation for and commitment to a specific goal by eliciting and exploring the person’s reasons for change within an atmosphere of acceptance and compassion.

Motivational Interviewing is a guiding style of communication, that sits between following (good listening) and directing (giving information and advice).

Motivational Interviewing is designed to empower people to change by drawing out their meaning, importance, and capacity for change.

Motivational Interviewing is based on a respectful and curious way of being with people that facilitate the natural process of change and honors client autonomy.

Meet Our MI Staff

Gregory Harris – Program Eligibility Specialist

Gregory Harris – Program Eligibility Specialist

To schedule a one-on-one session today contact Gregory Harris at gregory.harris@dph.ga.gov.