A Qualitative Study of Roles Performed by Peer Workers in the Context of HIV in India

Rebecca De Souza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


While peer interventions have been shown to be effective in HIV prevention and support amongst intravenous drug users, women, youth, and other high-risk populations, less is known about the particular roles peers play in disenfranchised and non-Western contexts. This study examined the various roles peer workers played in the context of HIV in Karnataka, a southern Indian state. In-depth interviews were conducted with HIV-infected peer workers engaged in providing counseling, outreach, and health education to other people living with HIV. Grounded analysis revealed five roles: role model, persuader, maven, going the extra mile, and micro-level advocacy. In the Discussion section, these roles are used to explore the relationship between peer work and empowerment. Findings showed that in addition to personal empowerment, peers were crucial to building social capital and challenging existing social norms in the community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-187
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded in part by the Institute of Advanced Study , University of Minnesota, “Body and Knowing” University Symposium (2009-2010), and the Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Minnesota , Duluth (2009).


  • AIDS
  • Empowerment
  • HIV
  • India
  • Peer roles
  • Peer work
  • Social support


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